The High Court ordered the status quo to be maintained regarding the payment of business license fees in a dispute between importers of used vehicles and Mombasa County.
Under the umbrella of the Automobile Importers Association of Kenya (Ciak), dealers had the southern Mombasa county government defying a demand for payment of Sh110,250 per showroom to be granted business licenses for this anus.
Judge Eric Ogola issued the orders, saying he had taken into account the county government’s position that importers are not being harassed.
The status quo will remain until the case is heard on July 27, he said.
Through attorney Elizabeth Kisingo, Mombasa had told the court that there was no evidence to prove the harassment of merchants.
The importers also accuse the county government of demanding the payment of 90,250 shillings per year for 2019 and 2020, arguing that the transferred unit has no power to seek the same retroactively.
In his petition, Ciak wants an order directing the county government to configure its electronic licensing system to allow his [Ciak] members to access, apply for and obtain the annual business license for 2021.
Ciak is also seeking a permanent injunction preventing the county government from interfering with its members’ businesses until the online platform is set up and fees of Sh45,000 per year are legally reviewed.
Through lawyer Gikandi Ngibuini, Ciak says that its members were willing to pay for business licenses starting in 2019, but without explanation, the delegated unit prevented them from accessing its electronic platform, thus preventing them from paying.
Ciak says he filed a petition challenging the disbarment. A judgment was passed in his favor. The county government, Ciak says, persistently blocked its members until it received a court order.
The association claims members were surprised that the system was programmed to require payment of 90,250 shillings per showroom per year for 2019 and 2020, and 110,250 shillings for 2021, before they could issue business licenses.
“The members considered the lawsuit unreasonable and untenable,” Ciak argues in the lawsuit documents.
Ciak says its members have not renewed their business licenses and fear the county government could charge them for conducting business without permits.
According to the petitioner, in a public participation exercise conducted in September 2019, its members strongly argued that the licenses should result in a charge of 45,000 shillings per showroom per year.