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City church takes fight for Sh59m with Kidero govt to court

A church based on Nairobi’s Riverside Drive Area has sued the Nairobi County government for demanding more than Sh 59 million as payment of rates for the last 17 years.

In a suit filed on Wednesday at the High Court, Trustees of German speaking Evangelical Lutheran congregation in Kenya wants an order issued stopping the demand for Sh59,566,462 in accrued rates and interest for the piece of land in which their church stands.

According to the church’s Bishop Zakaria Kahuthu, the defunct Nairobi City Council exempted them from paying rates in the year 2000 after he applied and requested for the exemption considering that the property referred to is a religious entity.

However, he claimed that the Nairobi county government demanded for payment of the said monies through a letter dated February 23.

ARRESTED AND CHARGED

He argued that every attempt to have them reconsider their demand for the monies has not yielded any fruits and that he fears he could be arrested as well as jailed for failing to clear the alleged debt.

“Being arrested and charged in a court of law is against the principles of natural justice and fairness because the trustees of the church have never been given a hearing by the county government on the revocation of the exemption issued 17 years ago,” Mr Bernard Wasonga, the church’s lawyer, said.

In the case documents, he argued that they have been notified that the only way they can be granted an exemption a second time is by clearing the alleged debt.

He alleged that since the church has never been informed that the previous exemption was nullified, they believe that the position is the same to date and accused the county government of demanding the money unlawfully.

“The demand for rates and interest is no doubt wrong, not anchored in law and amounts to violation of our rights,” Bishop Kahuthu said.