Kericho, Bomet row over land rates

Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso addressing Women Leaders in Support of Building Bridges Initiative under the banner of Embrace during their Convention to highlight some of their proposals to be submitted to BBI trust force at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on Tuesday 05/02/19. [Boniface Okendo]

The county government has written to the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) seeking help to recover Sh20 million from Bomet County.

Governor Paul Chepkwony’s administration claims the neighbouring county has been illegally receiving the amount from Unilever Tea Company as land rates for Ngoina and Kericho Tea Estate.

Speaking during the swearing-in ceremony of the Litein Municipal Board, Prof Chepkwony said the estates are in his county and therefore Kericho is the rightful beneficiary of the land rates.

The county chief said Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso should consider slashing the amount from what Kericho owes her county for the supply of water to Bureti residents. He, however, did not say the exact amount his county owes Bomet.

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“Since Kericho owes the county of Bomet some money for the supply of water to Bureti residents, the deal here is for Dr Laboso to deduct the Sh20 million from the amount we owe them for the supply of water,” he said.

Laboso was not immediately available for comment. 

Chepkwony said moving forward Unilever Tea company will be required to pay the land rates for Kericho and Ngoina tea estate to Kericho.

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Unilever East Africa Corporate Affairs and Sustainability director Joseph Sunday said the firm had halted the payments for land rates for the estates until the counties resolve the boundary row.

In a motion last year, Kericho County Assembly Majority Whip Gilbert Ngetich said the estates were in Kericho.

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“Kericho finance executive and his agriculture counterpart must, therefore, initiate the process of recovery of cess and rates paid to Bomet County with immediate effect and precision,” he said.

Also in the Kericho MCAs' focus is the land rates for Kericho Tea Estate owned by Sassini Tea Company.

Ngetich claimed that though the company is located in Kericho, Sassini has been paying land rates to Nyamira County.

However, Kenya Tea Growers Association Chief Executive Officer Apollo Kiarii argued that Kerito tea estate traverses both Kericho and Nyamira County and Sassini has been paying land rates to both counties.

“Contrary to Kericho MCAs claims, we have records of what we have paid in every single year. If they are saying that we should remit everything to Kericho, it’s up to the county to indicate to us where the boundary is,” he said.

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Bomet CountyCRAUnilever Tea CompanyKericho Tea Estate