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Tea firms caught in middle of counties’ battle to control cess

By | October 5th 2010

By Vitalis Kimutai

Bomet County

Leaders in Bomet County have demanded that three multinational tea companies stop channelling millions of shillings in cess to a neighbouring county.

Led by a former assistant minister, Raphael Kitur, a section of leaders, among them 14 councillors, said it was wrong for James Finlays Tea Kenya (JFTK), Unilever Tea Kenya (UTK) and George Williamsons to continue paying cess to Kericho County.

"It is important that the three companies recognise that Bomet County is independent from Kericho County and all the factories and tea estates within Bomet should pay cess to the right county," Kitur said.

They said it was wrong for the companies to claim they were waiting for the Interim Independent Electoral Commission to Gazette county boundaries before effecting changes on mode of paying cess money.

"The boundaries for the districts under the two counties have not been disputed, and it is clear to which counties the cess money should be paid," they said.

Kitur said it was wrong for the companies to pay out millions of shillings to Bureti County Council, which is in Kericho County, instead of paying the same to Bomet County.

He clarified that factories and tea estates in Konoin District in Bomet County are Koiwa, Changoi, Getumbe, Changana, Kuruma and Mara Mara, which are owned by the multinational tea companies.

But Unilever Tea Kenya Corporate Affairs Director Francis Kaptich and James Finlays Tea Kenya Corporate Affairs Director Nelson Orgut said cess would only be remitted to Bomet County after the boundaries are gazetted.

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