City Hall rules out swap­ping Sh600 mil­lion debt with KPLC

County govern­ment says it in­her­ited the debt and should not be asked to pay for it. At­tor­ney says in the spirit of de­vo­lu­tion, na­tional govern­ment should set­tle debt

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - JULIUS OTIENO @juliu­so­tieno04

The war pit­ting City Hall and Kenya Power over huge debts seems to be far from over after the county ruled out swap­ping the dues.

The county is de­mand­ing more than Sh600 mil­lion in wayleave and rent ar­rears for elec­tric­ity poles.

The elec­tric­ity sup­plier, on the other hand, has threat­ened to disconnect elec­tric­ity from county fa­cil­i­ties over a Sh732 mil­lion debt.

Last week, the county ob­tained a court or­der block­ing the com­pany from dis­con­nect­ing elec­tric­ity from its fa­cil­i­ties un­til the case is heard and de­ter­mined.

This was after the com­pany threat­ened to disconnect power at City Hall An­nex, Pumwani Hospi­tal, Mama Lucy Hospi­tal, pub­lic pri­mary and nurs­ery schools, county de­pots and to turn off street lights.

Ac­cord­ing to the court papers, the county govern­ment said it should not be asked to pay the debt as it in­her­ited it from the for­mer City Coun­cil.

The county said the debt should be paid by the na­tional govern­ment.

County at­tor­ney Gad Awuonda told the Star yes­ter­day that dis­con­nect­ing power to the fa­cil­i­ties would have ad­verse ef­fects on res­i­dents.

“We pay KPLC Sh3 mil­lion per day and it would be un­fair if they disconnect hos­pi­tals, street lights, schools and our of­fices. Peo­ple will die, crime rates will go up,” Awuonda said.

He said in the spirit of co­op­er­a­tion and sup­port for de­vo­lu­tion, the na­tional govern­ment should clear the debt.

Last week, the county threat­ened to clam­p­down KPLC’s Stima Plaza. This was after the com­pany dis­con­nected elec­tric­ity at City Hall. How­ever, power was re­stored at mid­night.

In the past, the city has clamped pri­vate premises, in­clud­ing five-star ho­tels and busi­ness cen­tres, over debt.

In Oc­to­ber last year, the county blocked en­trance to KPLC’s Stima Plaza over a Sh608 mil­lion debt.

/ FILE

City Hall, Nairobi, on Au­gust 15

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