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High Court declines to hear Del Monte land dispute

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High Court declines to hear Del Monte land dispute

An aerial view of pineapples growing at Del Monte Kenya Limited farm. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

A bench of three judges has declined to hear a petition by fruit processor Del Monte, stating that it lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate the case.

Justices Kanyi Kimondo, Chacha Mwita and Winfrida Okwany ruled that the central issue in the petition was about the renewal of leases, which the company claimed has been withheld by Murang’a County government.

According to the judges, the matter is intrinsically connected the use and title to land, a matter that is within the mandate of the Environment and Land Court.

“The significance of jurisdiction cannot be gainsaid. Any court acting without jurisdiction would be employing its energy, time and resources in futility,” the judges ruled as they declined to hear the case, which was filed in 2015.

The company occupies approximately 9,143.455 hectares of land and through Mr Njoroge Regeru, argued that it has put up massive investments on the parcels which includes factories, office complex, several dams and extensive irrigation infrastructure.

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The lawyer said Del Monte has also put up 2,700 housing units for its members of staff, six fully staffed and equipped clinics, eight nursery schools, three primary schools and two secondary schools and social halls among other developments.

Mr Stergios Gkaliamoutsas, the managing director of the company said in an affidavit that the company has directly employed over 7,000 people who stand to lose if the actions of the residents are not stopped.

Locals and the county government said it was impossible to step into the property because of the heavy security presence. The residents claim that the land is public land and the fruit company has no proprietary rights despite occupying it illegally.

The county government is opposed to the extension of the land leases citing poor working and living conditions for the workers.

It argued in court that the company uses hazardous pesticides in the growing of pineapples and permanent damage to the natural resources of the people of Murang’a.

The county challenged the jurisdiction of the court to handle the matter arguing that all matters relating to the environment, use, occupation and title to land are supposed to be heard at the Environmental and Land court.

As the case was pending, Kandara residents filed the claim before National Land Commission (NLC) alleging historical injustices. The company, first challenged the jurisdiction of NLC to hear the dispute but a middle ground was struck and the parties agreed to mediation.

The Commission later resorted to the historical injustices route, forcing the company to move to court to challenge alleged radical recommendations made by NLC.

“We are not persuaded by the petitioner’s argument that merely because it pleaded various constitutional rights, the petition should be heard by the High Court.

“We find that the alleged violations are intertwined with the dominant issue,” the judges said.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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