Court Rules on Sale of KICC

The Ministry of Treasury faced a setback in its effort to privatize the Kenya International Conference Center and 10 other parastatals. Justice Chacha Mwita issued restraining orders on Monday in response to a case filed by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), led by Raila Odinga.

ODM expressed concerns about President William Ruto’s privatization plan, contending that these parastatals were public assets financed by the state.

In his ruling, Mwita noted that the opposition raised substantial constitutional and legal issues of public importance that require critical examination and consideration by the court.

In response, the court mandated the respondents, including the State, to submit their responses to the petition within a 5-day period.

Justice Mwita issued a conservatory order, suspending the implementation of section 21(1) of the Privatisation Act 2023 and any related decisions until February 6, 2024. This directive was given on December 4, 2023.

Furthermore, Mwita outlined that the petitioner would have 5 days after being served to submit a supplementary affidavit, followed by an additional 5 days for the respondent to file and serve their written submissions to the petition.

Both parties are required to submit filings, each not exceeding 10 pages.In late November, the government initiated efforts to privatize various parastatals, including the Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), National Oil Corporation (NOC), and KICC.

The Treasury’s statement at the time explained that some parastatals, reliant on government funding, sought alternative revenue sources, while profitable entities needed incorporation into limited companies.

Shortly after, Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui withdrew a previous directive to privatize the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC).