City Hall in fresh Sh50m dispute with Passaris

July 2, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 2 – A fresh row is brewing between the Nairobi City Council (NCC) and the Adopt-a-Light Company after City Hall was accused of destroying the street lighting company’s infrastructure over an unpaid debt of Sh50 million.

Adopt-a-Light Founder Esther Passaris termed the move as sabotage, stating that most of the claims by NCC had been decided in her firm’s favour.

 “What they have done over the last one year, giving us about 29 cases in their city court, arresting our workers, customers, taking our goods from their highway is a total act of impunity,” Ms Passaris said.

“If there is an injunction, they do not respect it. In their own courts, after 29 cases, 28 of them have been determined in our favour but that does not stop them. What is the intention of the City Planning Department?” she posed.

Ms Passaris now wants the matter to be resolved through arbitration.

 “The council should do the honourable thing by going for arbitration with Adopt-a-Light. But they do not want to arbitrate. They create all these sideshows and keep us in court forever,” she stated.

When questioned over the issue, Nairobi Mayor Geoffrey Majiwa shifted the blame to his junior officers blaming them of resorting to intimidation.

The Nairobi Mayor emphasised the need to follow laid down procedure to ensure a peaceful co-existence between the council and city residents.

“Those are some of the things that officers do that I have been complaining about, ignoring the rule of law,” Mr Majiwa said.

“We are running this council with a law that governs its operations. If anyone does his own things within the council, then I will always been fighting people here,” he added.

Last year, Adopt-a-Light was embroiled in a tussle with fiery City Clerk, John Gakuo, when he advertised a tender for street lighting.

The Company had enjoyed street lighting monopoly for over five years with exclusive rights to advertise on the street lights.


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