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Kiambu bar owners ordered to pay taxes to the County Government

Bar owners in the entire Kiambu county will now pay licenses for their alcoholic drinks businesses after a Kiambu court ruled that the devolved Government cannot be barred from executing their mandate of tax collection.

The ruling also allowed the County Government of Kiambu to embark on their routine inspection to ensure that the bar owners operated according to the County Government laws just like other business operators

The ruling, therefore, quashed any previous restraining orders which will now enable the County Government to enforce any laws instituted by its county assembly aimed at offering a conducive environment for the residents and people who work in the region.

Kiambu Senior Resident Magistrate Mr Wilson Rading in his landmark ruling noted that it was the duty of the County Government to collect taxes from all business owners in tandem with the services that they gave to the residents in the region and for their development purposes. “They have to pay licenses, there is no reprieve for bar owners,” noted the magistrate who is also the Deputy Registrar of Kiambu High court.

While dismissing their suit, Mr Rading noted that if the plaintiffs were aggrieved, they were to appeal to the County Appeals committee in 30 days which they did not, but they instead rushed to court under article 47 of the Constitution (2010) and fair Administrative ACT of 2015.

The plaintiffs in the civil suit Charles Gatauwa Ngugi, David Kamau Kariuki, Joseph M. Kamuchua and Teresia Njeri Wainaina had on 17th June 2021 approached the court to issue an order restraining the County Government from carrying out inspection and/or demanding any fees for purpose of issuing licenses pending the hearing and determination of the application.

On 2nd July, the County Government filed a notice of preliminary objection in which they contended that they have statutory mandate as dictated through the Kiambu County Government Alcoholic drinks control Act to carry out inspection and demand for issuance of licenses.

The County Government also noted that the plaintiffs did not exhaust all available administrative remedies within their governance structure.

In their affidavit, they had also prayed for issuance of an order restraining the County Government of Kiambu, its agents, servants, employees or any other person, from interfering, harassing, arresting, detaining, and/or preferring charges for liquor licenses purposes.

Following their application, all bar owners in the larger Kiambu and Thika regions reneged paying taxes, pending the determination of the civil suit No. E276 of 2021.

The plaintiffs averred that following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic into the country in March 2020, the Government instituted preventive protocols through the MOH aimed at curbing the spread of the disease that led to the closure of some outlets which have never re-opened and that the families of these operators were suffering under the hard economic times.

By Lydia Shiloya

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