By Obegi Malack
A Kajiado County court has quashed payment of Tata Chemicals Magadi Limited billions rates to Kajiado County Government.
The county government’s demand letters for a sum of Sh 17b were rejected by the High court for being irregular and unlawful.
Justice Reuben Nyakundi ruled that the company cannot pay the billions it owed the county government because it is not economically justifiable.
The matter on mining of minerals was found to be under national government as per Schedule 4 of the Constitution of Kenya, County Government cannot levy any rates along the railway line as the land belongs to the Kenya Railways.
The court restrained the county from interfering with the operation of the company. It was issued injunctive orders against for the next six months to be supervised by court for arbitration to take place.
Arbitration team will be led by John Munyes, Cabinet Secretary Petroleum and Mining, he will handle the issue of rates charged by the county on land that has no minerals.
The county government has now an option to appeal at the Court of Appeal or allow the negotiations.
On March this year Governor Joseph ole Lenku led a protest in Magadi town against the company, last month in a church fundraising in Oloosirkon attended by deputy president William Ruto, the governor likened the company with “Alshabaab”, he said the company had failed to follow government laws on rates.
The company occupies 224,000 acres is Africa’s largest soda ash manufacturer and one of Kenya’s leading exporters.