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KAA and firm seek time to end duty-free shops row

Thursday June 28 2012

By NATION REPORTER

The airports authority and an international company are negotiating a deal expected to end a dispute over operation of duty-free shops at airports.

Lawyers for the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and the World Duty Free Company on Thursday told a court in Nairobi that they needed time to try to reach a deal in a dispute over licences to operate duty-free shops at two Kenyan airports.

The World Duty Free Company, which trades in the country as the Kenya Duty Free Complex, moved to court three weeks ago to stop KAA from evicting it from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport.

Expiry of its licences

The company, which has been exclusively operating duty-free shops at the two airports for decades, told the court that KAA was likely to evict it at the expiry of its licences on July 10.

The airports authority maintained it was not intending to renew the licences.

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It argued that any dispute could only be solved by an arbitrator and not the court.

However, lawyer Benard Kalove, for the duty-free shops company, on Thursday asked Mr Justice Joseph Mutava, who was to hear the case, to grant them time.

“We are discussing a way out of this matter,” he said. KAA lawyer Eric Mutua confirmed the position. The judge directed them to return to court on July 27 to report on the progress.

The judge also extended interim orders that he had issued stopping KAA from interfering with the duty-free company’s business at the two airports pending the determination of the suit.

The company claims to be the holder of exclusive licences to operate duty-free shops at Kenyan airports and any other place that may be designated as an airport in future.