The High Court has allowed Mombasa County to charge and collect cess on goods offloaded within its boundaries.
High Court Judge Eric Ogola has ruled that the Mombasa County Finance Act, 2014, provides for the collection of cess on goods offloaded and sold within its boundaries, dismissing a suit filed by Coast Calcium Limited which had challenged the fee.
Coast Calcium had claimed that the county government was exposing it to double taxation since it also pays cess to Kwale County where the firm mines lime.
The firm added that Mombasa’s Finance Act bars the collection of cess on unrefined products.
But Justice Ogola ruled that a perusal of Mombasa’s laws clearly showed that the county is allowed to levy and collect cess and offloading charges on vehicles entering and discharging products.
The judge added that Coast Calcium’s admission of sale of its products within Mombasa means that the firm also offloads lime in the county.
“I have carefully perused the two Acts and found that the Mombasa County Finance Act, 2014, does provide for the payment of cess and offloading charges.
‘‘The allegation by the petitioner that cess fee is not provided for in the Act is therefore untrue. Coast Calcium has not tendered any evidence to show that all its vehicles carrying its goods are on transit.
‘‘Therefore, it is clear that cess is payable by the petitioner where vehicles carrying its goods offload within Mombasa County,” Justice Ogola ruled.
Coast Calcium had also claimed that there was no public participation prior to passing and enforcing county laws.
But Justice Ogola agreed with Mombasa County’s arguments that another judge, Mathew Emukule, had earlier ruled that there was public participation before the laws were passed.
Justice Emukule’s ruling followed a suit filed by Milly Glass Works which had challenged the Mombasa County Finance Acts of 2013 and 2014.