City Hall clamps KBC over Sh2bn debt

February 16, 2016 12:23 pm
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City Hall said it is owed Sh2 billion by the state broadcaster/MIKE KARIUKI
City Hall said it is owed Sh2 billion by the state broadcaster/MIKE KARIUKI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – They came packed in buses and in a convoy of garbage trucks and pick up loads of clamps to show they meant business.

When they got onto Harry Thuku Road, they set up camp outside the national broadcaster’s headquarters and set about hanging a banner and a board across the entryway that announced to the world that the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) owes the Nairobi County Government over Sh2 billion in unpaid land rates.
“What are they protesting?” a passerby asked Capital FM News.

Overview

An understandable reaction to what appeared to be #OccupyKBC. Their aim, County Chief Officer John Toiti said, was to embarrass KBC.

An understandable reaction to what appeared to be #OccupyKBC. Their aim, County Chief Officer John Toiti said, was to embarrass KBC.

But reason prevailed and it was decided that there was no need to empty the garbage trucks on KBC’s doorstep as the banner and board they so painstakingly put up, were likely embarrassment enough.

And when those driving into KBC stopped to enquire about the crowds gathered, the county workers did not hesitate to inform them that the parastatal they were entering, did not honour its debts.

“KBC has been in arrears since 2008,” County Treasurer Maurice Okere informed the invited reporters. “In 2014 we negotiated a deal for them to pay off their debt in monthly payments of Sh5 million but to date they’ve only paid off one percent of the total sum.”

He accused KBC of defaulting on their debt even during the amnesty period when the county government waived the penalties on land rates due, seeking only the principal amounts owed.

#OccupyKBC was short lived however as the emissaries sent in by the county government to negotiate with KBC’s management, returned minutes later with another deal that they would vacate the premises with a Sh5 million cheque in hand and with the promise of another meeting in a week’s time.

Still, they were a tough talking group of emissaries who said all land rate defaulters would be treated the same regardless of whether or not they belonged to the “bigger” national government or not.

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