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Firms lose bid to resume logging in Nema ban row

logsa

A truck transports timber along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NMG

Summary

  • The two companies moved to court in October 2011 after Nema served them with a notice to stop the harvesting of logs, citing non-compliance with the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act.
  • The notice was dated October 17, 2011.
  • Mr Nilesh Mahendra Mehta, general manager at Comply, told the court that the Kenya Forest Service had allocated the company forests for tree harvesting.

A judge has dismissed a case filed nine years ago by two timber manufacturing firms seeking to overturn a decision of the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) to stop them from harvesting logs.

The two, Comply and Timsales Ltd, wanted the court to quash a Nema notice stopping them from harvesting trees in Nakuru due to non-compliance with the law. They argued that implementation of the notice would have serious consequences on their business.

However, Justice Dalmas Omondi Ohungo dismissed their request following a finding that the dispute should have been lodged at the National Environment Tribunal as provided by the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act 1999.

The two companies moved to court in October 2011 after Nema served them with a notice to stop the harvesting of logs, citing non-compliance with the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act. The notice was dated October 17, 2011.

Mr Nilesh Mahendra Mehta, general manager at Comply, told the court that the Kenya Forest Service had allocated the company forests for tree harvesting.

He said Comply suffered irreparable loss of revenue to the tune of more than Sh8 million daily due to the stop order.

Mr Mehta said the forest serves as the source of raw materials for the company, adding that 2,000 employees would be rendered jobless.

He said the company was using the forest resources responsibly and sustainably. Comply had employed more than 2,000 workers in the factory, he said.

Mr Mehta said that Comply was processing about 150 tonnes of finished wood products per day while sourcing its raw materials from the KFS commercial forest plantations.

The court heard that after harvesting each plantation, Comply would replant the harvested area and tend the tree seedlings until they mature.

Timsales managing director Sarbjit Singh Rai supported the application. He said Timsales had 3,000 workers and it stood to lose Sh5 million daily in revenue.

The firm said they were not heard before the issuance of the notice, thereby condemning them unheard in breach of the principles of natural justice.

Nema, through Edward Juma Masakha, its then Rift Valley provincial director of environment, opposed to the applications.

He told the court that Nema issued the notice according to the law.