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Court quashes CA’s Sh2b Airtel fees demand

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The High Court has stopped the Communication Authority of Kenya from demanding Ksh 2.1 billion license renewal fees from Airtel Kenya.

High Court Judge George Odunga, in his ruling, ordered the regulator to issue a licence to the telco, which had moved to court arguing it had paid Ksh 5.4 billion license fees two years earlier.

“CA had debts to settle that was why they started demanding for the money almost two years after paying Sh 5.4 billion licence fee and the matter was concluded,” Senior counsel Fred Ngatia told the court.

In a statement, Airtel Kenya welcomed the ruling saying: “As a responsible and law abiding company, Airtel Kenya has always maintained its full faith in the judicial process of the country. With today’s ruling, we feel that our original stand has been acknowledged by the Honorable High Court and that principally, we have acted within the afforded legal boundaries and applicable provisions of the Kenya Information and Communications Act.”

“Airtel Kenya, along with its customers and shareholders welcome the ruling which not only protects our rights as a business entity but also comforts the trust placed by millions of Kenyan customers on our network. The ruling provides a major boost to the industry as a whole and sends the right signals to international investors,” it added.

The Communication Authority had demanded that Airtel Kenya pays the amount as a condition for renewing their operator’s license, an exercise scheduled for January 27, 2025.

READ: Seven events that shook Kenya in 2017

The company, however,  faulted the order, arguing it is not going to pay the fee claiming that the decision was made in bad faith and it’s an abuse of power.

In an affidavit, it further averred that Essar Telecom Kenya Limited, formerly Econet Wireless, exited the market with the blessings of the regulator.

Eassar sold its yuMobile’s network, IT and office infrastructure assets to Safaricom while Airtel took over its 2.55 million subscribers.

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BT Reporter
BT Reporterhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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