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Residents petition Nairobi assembly over rent waiver dispute

By Josephat Thiong'o | November 13th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

City Hall Nairobi. [Standard]

Residents of Ngara Ward have petitioned the Nairobi County Assembly to intervene in a matter where two offices have given conflicting information on rent waivers.

This follows Governor Mike Sonko's decision last month to extend a rent waiver that was first applied in April to shield residents from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Mohamed Badi told off Sonko last week, saying that rent matters were under the jurisdiction of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

KRA has been collecting rent from tenants who live in county houses since March this year after Sonko signed an agreement to transfer county functions, including housing, to the national government.

“Your humble petitioners pray that the Nairobi County Assembly look into the matter with a view to ensuring that there is clarity on which office is legally supposed to issue waivers considering that the Kenya Revenue Authority was collecting revenue on behalf of the county government,” read the petition tabled on the floor of the assembly by Ngara MCA Chege Mwaura.

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The residents, under the Umoja Old, New Ngara Estate Welfare and Old Council Estate associations, criticised Sonko for his ‘arbitrary’ declarations. They said he had been acting contrary to the County Waiver Administration Act 2013, which states that City Hall should first publish intentions for any waiver and invite comments from the public.

The matter was committed to the County Assembly Budget Committee and the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee for consideration.

The county has 17,000 houses in Ngara, Maringo, Uhuru, Kaloleni, Jericho, Buruburu, Kariobangi South, Ziwani and Jerusalem estates, among other areas.

City Hall Nairobi rent waiver Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko
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