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Nyandarua barred from alcohol taxes

Francis Kimemia
Nyandarua governor Francis Kimemia. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The High Court has stopped Nyandarua County from demanding separate levies for single business permits and alcoholic drinks.

Justice Pauline Wendoh ruled the double taxation was illegal, oppressive and discriminatory in nature and contrary to rules of natural justice.

While ruling in an application filed by a group of liquor sellers, the judge said there was no justification for the two licences to be taxed separately.

The traders were challenging legality of some provisions of the Nyandarua Finance Act, 2016 and the Nyandarua County Alcoholic Drinks Act, 2014.

They moved to court after being issued with invoices and demand notes for payment of single business permits and liquor licences for the same business. According to them, the demand was unreasonable and unjust and was an interference with their social-economic rights.

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The County Alcoholic Drinks Control Act was enacted in 2014 to provide for licensing and regulation of production, sale, distribution, consumption and outdoor advertising of alcoholic drinks and connected purposes.

Nyandarua County Finance Act, 2016 provided for taxes, fees, cess, licences and charges for drinks and other revenue raising measures.

The traders were to pay for single business permits under the Finance Act of the County Government and licence fees for operation of liquor outlets.

The traders said the move amounted to an abuse of power and that the county government refused to accept partial payment for both single business permits and liquor licences.

Stephen Kinja, a director in charge of revenue, said the move was aimed at controlling the liquor businesses.

Mr Kinja said control and regulation of alcohol business involves extra expenses, prompting the need for a licence.

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