Mombasa, firm lock horns over parking fee
By By BENARD SANGA | March 19th 2014
By BENARD SANGA
The Mombasa county government has taken over collection of parking fees from the Kenya Airport Parking Services (Kaps), which has been managing the service in the city for the last 10 years.
Since last week, officials from the county’s inspectorate department have been arresting Kaps employees. “This is against the contract. They have been arresting and frustrating our employees. Those arrested have not been arraigned in court,” said Kaps Mombasa regional manager Barbara Gatumuta.
Ms Gatumuta said the contract engaging Kaps in parking management was scheduled to expire in 2016 and the issues raised by the county government should have been ironed out through the ongoing arbitration process.
“The court gave an injunction against such forceful take-overs. We have on several occasions written to the county government requesting a meeting to discuss any issues they have with the contract but they have never replied,” she said.
Kaps maintains the contract still stands and if the ongoing arbitration efforts will not bear fruit, they will invoke some provisions in that protect the company.
The company entered into a 25-year deal with the defunct Mombasa Municipal Council in June 2006 to levy parking fees from motorists but local traders have over the years complained that the contract was skewed in favour of the firm.
In 2009, the municipal council revoked the contract and questioned its validity and the rationale used to award the firm a 25-year contract.
The then city administrator also complained that they were getting peanuts from the deal given that Kaps was collecting Sh30 million monthly and giving the council only Sh1million.
Kaps moved to court to challenge the cancellation of the tender and the court issued orders restraining the then municipality and directed that the matter be handled through arbitration.
The High Court in Nairobi dismissed the application, stating that the court lacked jurisdiction to deal with a dispute where parties have agreed to have disputes between them determined by arbitration. This was aftera a court issued temporally orders restraining city administrators from interfering with Kaps.
The two warring parties appointed a lawyer, Chacha Odera, to arbitrate the matter but yesterday it emerged that a solution was not in sight.
Yesterday Mombasa county executive in charge of Finance Walid Khalid said he will cross-check the fact and establish what transpired.
Earlier, he had said the county government will continue with the arbitration process. Khalid said the county government wanted the arbitration process completed so that it could plan how to increase revenue through collection of parking fees.
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