15 March 2016

Kenya: Court Set to Deliver Ruling On Raiply, Baringo County Row

A ruling on a petition filed by Eldoret based Raiply Wood Company to have its trucks, being held by Baringo County government, released will be delivered on April 7.

The trucks were seized on February 20, by the Baringo County Government over logging arrears.

Sitting in Eldoret, High Court judge George Kimondo said on Tuesday that the ruling will now be made on April 7.

Mr Juma Kiplenge, the advocate representing Raiply Wood Company, filed the application seeking a court order for the release of the four trucks loaded with logs which were clamped at Timboroa Police Station, saying the company was incurring losses.

He argued that the Baringo County Government disregarded provisions of the Constitution and the Baringo County Finance Act 2015 by arbitrarily increasing the company's forest product charge arrears to Sh5,195,160 per month.

The county government recently increased its charges per log from Sh500 to Sh1,000.

"The increment has been made in bad faith and in blatant violation of the Constitution. In the process of implementing the said Act, the respondents have illegally and with impunity barred members of the public, especially those engaged in the forest product industry within the county, from their means of livelihood without any lawful justification," Mr Kiplenge argued.

However, Mr Patrick Kibii, representing the Baringo County Government, opposed the application saying that the county had the powers to detain and seize the property of a company that has failed to remit taxes.

He also told the court that the Baringo Finance Act was packed with due process and that the petitioner was notified along with the public, based on a gazette notice published in newspapers.

Judge Kimondo asked the respondents what benefit they stood to gain by holding the trucks, but, in response, Mr Kibii said the county was seeking to recover the arrears.

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