Taxpayers will foot a Sh4 billion bill as compensation to a private meat firm for breach of contract for its abattoir taken over by the government nearly four decades ago.
This is after Parliament approved the payment to Halal Meats Products Limited in the new financial year starting July 1 through the State Department for Livestock.
The bill stems from a 1986 suit after the government took over the Halal Meat Products abattoir in Ngong without compensation.
The funds are contained in the report on the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) for the year 2023/24 that Parliament approved last Wednesday.
The State had intended to expand the Halal Meats Products facility and even provided additional land and Sh27 million loan towards the project.
The slaughterhouse was constructed using a long-term loan secured from the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and was completed in 1978.
The abattoir at Bul Bul, Ngong, however, remained closed for six years after the ministry withdrew veterinary officers after Halal Meats Products rejected the State’s move to include Kenya Meat Commission officers on the board.
The government reopened the facility after the country faced severe drought in 1984, and decided to buy it but by June 1988, it informed Halal owners that it was no longer interested in buying the abattoir.
Halal Meat Products sued the Ministry of Agriculture over the takeover.
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On October 7, 2005, High Court judge Jeanne Gacheche ruled that the meat-processing firm deserved compensation and awarded Halal Sh1.8 billion.
The government's attempt to block the award flopped in 2016 after the Appellate Court upheld Justice Gacheche's order.