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High Court quashes Sh 17 billion Tata rates’ debt

Caption: Gateway to Tata Chemicals Magadi Ltd/KNU.

High Court has today quashed the repayment of more than Sh17 billion owed the county government by Tata Chemicals Magadi.

At the same time Justice Reuben Nyakundi, who only gave highlights of his final judgment at Kajiado High Court, said the constitution allows county governments to charge rates at justifiable rates.

Nyakundi held that Tata Chemicals Magadi cannot pay the more than Sh17 billion that it owes the Kajiado county government because it is not economically tenable.

Justice Nyakundi said, however, because the constitution allows county government to charge rates on land that has no minerals, he will refer the case of rates to an arbitration team that will be led by the country’s CS for Mining, John Munyes.

Nyakundi’s ruling means that if the entire land (224,000 acres) under concession has minerals, the county government will not qualify to charge rates because that is the preserve of the national government which charges royalties for mining work.

As it is now, in simple language, the county cannot charge rates in the land Lake Magadi is sitting because that is the source of Magadi soda ash.

By subjecting the two parties into arbitration, the matter now lies on the hands of Munyes until the matter is resolved amicably.

Justice Nyakundi emphasised that the county government should not interfere with the land under concession in Magadi until the matter under arbitration is resolved.

Full ruling of the matter is expected to be released to the two parties on Monday, next week.

 

 

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