KENYA – A private meat company that had its abattoir nationalized nearly four decades ago will be compensated to the tune of Sh4 billion (US$31 million) by the government of Kenya, Business Daily has reported.

Meats Products Limited, the beneficiary, will receive the payment from the State Department for Livestock after it was approved by Parliament.

The payment is the climax of a long litigation journey dating back to 1986 when the government reportedly breached contractual agreements when it took over a Halal Meat Products abattoir in Ngong.

The government had committed to supporting the Abbatoir’s expansion by providing extra land and a loan of KES27 million.

In 1978, after receiving a long-term loan from the government through the Ministry of Agriculture, construction on the slaughterhouse was finally completed.

However, a dispute arose when  Halal Meats Products rejected the State’s attempt to include Kenya Meat Commission officers on the board of the abattoir in Bul Bul, Ngong.

In protest, the government withdrew the veterinary officers and the abattoir remained closed for six years.

After a severe drought hit the country in 1984, the government reopened the abattoir intending to purchase it but abandoned the plans in 1988.

In response, Halal filed suit against the Ministry of Agriculture which was concluded in 2005 when High Court judge Jeanne Gacheche determined that the meat processing company was entitled to damages and awarded Halal Sh1.8 billion in compensation.

In 2016, the government tried and failed to have the award blocked after an appeals court upheld Justice Gacheche’s ruling.

Meanwhile, the state-owned Kenya Meat Commission continues to expand its operations after the transfer from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Defense in 2020.

Brigadier James Githaga, the Managing Commissioner at KMC is on record noting that the parastatal today sells more than Ksh300 million monthly.

“In terms of procurement, initially, we had a supplier base of 20 farmers but we have since increased that to over 1,200,” Githaga explained.

The parastatal has since been transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock but remains firmly under the management of the Kenya Defence Forces.

“The military is part of the Kenyan government and we must respect the good work they have done,” said Agriculture minister Mithika Linturi said.

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