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Kenya Power to pay farmer nearly Sh20m in sugar cane fire suit

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Summary

  • Justice Fred Ochieng said although Harjeet Pandhal Singh & Sons Limited did not table actual records from Chemelil Sugar Company to prove that he was a large-scale farmer as claimed, Kenya Power could not be absolved from the obligation to pay damages.
  • Kenya Power had denied causing the fires but suggested that the farms were burnt by wild fires, whose causes were unknown.

Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC will pay a Muhoroni farmer close to Sh20 million after a fire caused by sparks emanating from loose electricity cables razed his sugar cane plantation six years ago.

Justice Fred Ochieng said although Harjeet Pandhal Singh & Sons Limited did not table actual records from Chemelil Sugar Company to prove that he was a large-scale farmer as claimed, Kenya Power could not be absolved from the obligation to pay damages, just because the farmer failed to prove his claim with certainty.

“Accordingly, I now enter judgment in favour of the plaintiff in the sum of Sh9,951,468. The said sum will attract interest at 14 per cent per annum from April 5, 2016, when the suit was filed in court,” said the judge.

Justice Ochieng based the amount using a report tabled in court by Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro), which indicated that the average yield in Chemelil was between 15 and 22 tonnes per acre then.

The farmer through its director, Amandeep Singh Pandhal, wanted to be paid Sh22.7 million as the value of the sugar cane that was burnt. He called witnesses from Chemelil was confirmed that he was one of the large-scale sugarcane farmers in the area, and who enjoyed the highest yields in Chemelil, at between 30 to 40 tonnes per acre.

“I find that because Kalro had undertaken a broad-based task, their report is objective, and was not intended to simply answer to the plaintiff’s claim. I, therefore, find the said Kalro report to provide a reasonable basis for calculating the appropriate compensation payable to the plaintiff,” said the judge.

Kenya Power had denied causing the fires but suggested that the farms were burnt by wild fires, whose causes were unknown.