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Counties

Court gives Belgian firm nod for Sh21bn Lamu wind plant

NLC chairman Prof Mohamed Swazuri (centre) with Lamu County commissioner Joseph Kanyiri (right) and Kenwind director Susan Anandwa (left) addressing residents in Mpeketoni, Lamu County April 7, 2016. File Photo | Kevin Odit | NMG
NLC chairman Prof Mohamed Swazuri (centre) with Lamu County commissioner Joseph Kanyiri (right) and Kenwind director Susan Anandwa (left) addressing residents in Mpeketoni, Lamu County April 7, 2016. File Photo | Kevin Odit | NMG 

A Belgian company has finally been allowed to proceed with a billion shilling wind energy project in Lamu County that was first approved by the government in 2009.

This is after the High Court dismissed an application by a rival firm, US-based Cordisons International, which had derailed the Sh21 billion project.

Malindi Land and Environment Judge James Olola ruled in favour of Kenwind Holdings Ltd saying he did not find any grounds that the respondents acted against the authorities or abused their offices.

“I did not find any evidence of breach of rules of natural justice to warrant the grant of judicial review orders sought by the applicant,” he said Friday, adding “accordingly the motion dated May 22 2017 must fail; the same is dismissed with costs.”

Wrangles

Cordisons International last year filed an ex parte application against the National Land Commission (NLC) and the Lamu County government accusing them of favouring Kenwind Ltd in matters land allocation in order to set up the project in Mpeketoni.

This is after the NLC had quashed the American firm's lease documents and given Kenwind Ltd the greenlight to proceed with the energy project.

In a notice of motion, the American consortium had asked for orders to quash the allocation of land to the rival firm and a judicial review of the matter claiming it had been allocated the land before.

Cordisons also claimed that Kenwind was illegally allocated a portion of land which was approved and gazetted to generate wind power in Lamu County.

However, Justice Olola said the contention by the ex parte applicant that the subsequent allocation was irregular and unlawful for encroaching on land already issued and allocated to Cordisons International was not true.

Delays

In its application, the American company said it wanted to invest Sh23 billion for the first phase of its 100 megawatt project in Kiongwe area of Lamu but that the NLC had delayed by 27 months due to failure to approve land lease instruments.

On its part, the Muhammad Swazuri-led commission had stated in court papers that Cordisons failed to meet legal requirements to be awarded the lease for 11,000 acres.

During the trial, 39 residents of Baharini in Mpeketoni Lamu West Sub County also sought to be enjoined in the suit as interested parties to challenge Cordisons International.

The judicial review by Cordisons was first filed at the Mombasa High Court but was later referred to the Environment and Lands Court Malindi.

The respondents in the case are Mr Swazuri, the NLC, the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, the County Government of Lamu and the Attorney general.

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