Court halts Sonko’s Sh1 billion demand from Kenya Power
The Court of Appeal has come to the rescue of Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) after stopping City Hall from demanding about Sh1 billion in rates for land where electricity poles and transmission lines are erected.
Its orders, which are a blow to Nairobi County government’s revenue raising, will remain in force, pending the outcome of an appeal filed by KPLC.
The judges noted that the company was likely to pass the costs demanded by City Hall to electricity consumers.
They said if the appeal is successful and the charges already passed to Kenyans it would be difficult to recover the extra costs of electricity imposed “on the ordinary and overburdened Kenyan consumers”.
The power utility company also rushed to court seeking orders to restrain the City Hall from trespassing or interfering with all its premises within the city. The court heard that the County was using garbage trucks to barricade the premises.
The case arose from a Legal Notice No. 8494 of 2001 when the defunct City Council of Nairobi, revised house rents, fees and other charges.
Among the charges affected were annual rent for way-leave space on road reserves.
Kenya Power challenged the imposition of the new levy by filing a constitutional petition in the High Court alleging infringement of several of its rights. The company sought an order declaring the legal notice illegal.
But after hearing the case, High Court judge John Mativo dismissed the case in November last year, saying KPLC had failed to demonstrate that the Legal Notice violated the law or any provisions of the Constitution. The company moved to the Court of Appeal.
Among the grounds is that the move is likely to expose KPLC to a tune of Sh47 billion, because there is a chance that other 46 county governments would demand way-leave charges.
Justices William Ouko, Mohamed Warsame and Kathurima M’Inoti said in the ruling that KPLC had demonstrated several arguable points that warrant consideration.
They are expected to consider whether the 2001 Gazette Notice is contrary to the Local Government Act, and secondly, whether Justice Mativo failed to give effect to the principle of legality expected in decisions made by the public bodies.