Council threatens to sell off plots over Sh2bn rate arrears
Posted Thursday, July 26 2012 at 22:11
Rate defaulters, who owe the Mombasa Municipal Council Sh2 billion, risk losing their land if they don’t clear the outstanding amounts by early next month.
Town Clerk Tubmun Otieno warned that the council will auction the defaulters’ plots after the expiry of an interest and penalties waiver period that ends on August 6.
Out of the 40,000 land rate payers in Mombasa County, only half have been paying their taxes promptly.
Mr Otieno said that efforts by the council to grant the defaulters a waiver on interest and penalties every year to encourage them to clear outstanding amounts have proved fruitless.
Mr Otieno said the council will invoke Section 17 of the Rating Act Cap 267, which vests it with the powers to dispose of all land where rates and interests are outstanding.
The town clerk added that the council had instructed its lawyers to seek a court order to enable the mega auction of 20,000 plots.
Mr Otieno said most of the defaulters were well-off businessmen and politicians, adding that the council will shame them if they don’t clear their debts.
The council, he added, was facing financial constraints due to non-payment of rates amounting to Sh2 billion.
“Non-payment of rates has hampered our operations. Residents need to understand that paying revenue is key to better service,” he said.
Mr Otieno noted well-connected land owners had over the years dodged paying rates.
“This time round, we shall not be intimidated by influential people. They either pay the outstanding rates or lose their land,” he warned.
Town treasurer John Ngugi said the non-payment of rates had affected the council’s operations.
Mr Ngugi explained that the council was struggling to pay its 2,500 workers wages of Sh120 million per month.
“We require funds to purchase modern garbage collection tools as the waste generated daily has soared over the years.