Counties

Nyeri fails to stop firm from setting up cooking gas plant

kahiga

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A petroleum products company has got the court's nod to obtain an order quashing decision of Nyeri County to stop it from establishing a liquified petroleum gas (LPG) plant in Aguthi/Gatitu village.

Justice Yuvinalis Angima declared that the enforcement notice dated May 21, 2020 issued by the county government to the investor, Depar Limited, was a violation of the company's right to fair administrative action.

The notice required the company to stop construction works of the plant on account of a “public petition” whose details or particulars of complaint were not given.

Justice Angima ruled that the devolved unit did not render any justification for the issuance of an enforcement notice stopping the project which was duly approved.

The company's chief executive officer, Engineer Linus Gitonga, contended that his company had obtained all the relevant approvals and licences from all the concerned authorities including the county government before commencement of the construction works.

He said it had obtained approvals and licences from the Kenya National Highways Authority, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema), the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) and the County Government of Nyeri.

Mr Gitonga said the issuance of the enforcement notice was done without lawful justification or excuse.

The petitioner contended that he was not in breach of any of the terms of the approvals and licences which allowed it to undertake its construction project.

In the ruling, the judge stated that the county government did not file its response to the petition but two days to the judgment date it filed a preliminary objection seeking to have the petition struck out on grounds that the court had no powers to deal with the dispute.

In the objection, the county argued that a challenge to the issuance of an enforcement notice is a matter which is reserved for the County Physical and Land Use Planning Liaison Committee, under Section 78 of the Physical and Land Use Planning Act, 2019.

It said the petitioner ought to have ventilated its grievances before the said committee and not a court of law.

However, the court noted that by the time the investor filled the case the county government had not established the saod committee and the objection was filed when the case was pending judgment.