Alcohol maker loses bid to kick out next-door school

Justice George Odunga
Justice George Odunga. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The High Court has dismissed a petition by London Distillers seeking to have Kitengela International Schools closed down for being close to its plant in Athi River.

Justice George Odunga said London Distillers application lacked merit as it was based on speculations of threat to business and anticipation of frustrations.

The distiller was apprehensive that establishment of the school had a likelihood of future conflicts.

"It is my view and I hold that the issue of the establishment of the school being a step towards the crippling of the operations of the petitioner is rather speculative at this stage," said Justice Odunga. London Distillers said it opened the plant in 1986 in the area that is zoned off for industrial development.

However, in 2016 it realised that the user status of the plots it had sold earlier had been converted from industrial development to mixed-use including for residential units.


It said the school was established barely eight metres from its perimeter wall, which it said was contrary to the provisions of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, No 4 of 2010.

It claimed the development was meant to oust the distiller on the ground that the factory which handles alcoholic beverages, which can easily fall into the hands of school-going children and hence cause the distilleryto be closed.

It termed such a move as economic sabotage.

But Justice Odunga said: "The allegations made by the petitioner are rather remote. They may or may not take place. While the possibility of the school lodging complainants cannot be ruled out and the said respondents have the right to lodge any complaint against the petitioner however frivolous, there is no certainty that that will be the position and whether such complaints have any chances of succeeding."