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MPs hand developer reprieve in Athi River project standoff

Erdemann managing director John Zeyun Yang with
Erdemann managing director John Zeyun Yang with Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua during the unveiling of Great Wall Gardens Phase Two in Athi River in March. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Parliament has directed the environment regulator to immediately grant Erdemann Property Limited a licence to develop its third phase of housing units in Athi River.

The Committee on Implementation of House Resolutions accused National Environment Management Authority (Nema) of frustrating the property developer following its dispute with London Distillers Kenya (LDK) Limited over pollution.

“We are directing Nema to issue the licence to Erdemann without further delays. I direct the committee secretariat to immediately write to the Nema indicating that it has no ground to deny Erdemann Property licence. They have to proceed and allow them to do their development,” Moitalel ole Kenta, who chairs the committee, said.

The committee said it would summon Nema, Water Resources Management Authority (Warma), Environment and Water ministries over the continued failure by LDK to comply with pollution levels.

The MPs heard that the Nema had stopped the environmental impact assessment (EIA) processing until its own technical committee is prepared.

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The property developer said it was not privy to the decision to form a committee nor a meeting held on May 16 at the London Distillers premises.

Erdemann appeared before MPs to complain over failure by Nema to fully implement a report of the Environment Committee that ordered LDK to put in place a waste management technology at its factory or risk being shut down after six months of adoption of the report by the House.

Zeyun Yang, Erdemann Property managing director said the regulator had refused to implement the committee’s recommendations and subjected his firm to discrimination in the issuance of the environment impact assessment licence to construct phase three of Great Wall Gardens comprising 688 units.

Erdemann, which petitioned Parliament for investigations into LDK’s environmental activities, claimed it had lost Sh500 million due to Nema’s frustration in the issuance of licences.

“We already have Machakos County government approvals but … we are suffering huge loses to the tune of Sh10 million per day as a result of delay to start the proposed Great Wall 3 project and we would like to claim these loses from rhw Nema to shoulder part of this loses,” Mr Yang said.

Parliament in September 2018, directed the Athi-River based alcohol maker to also maintain high environmental standards that will ensure safe and healthy disposal of waste.

London Distillers has been embroiled in a dispute with residents of Great Wall Gardens, owned by Erdemann Property Ltd, over claims of emptying toxic waste in Athi River.

Area residents have accused the distiller of failure to put in place appropriate technology in the management of waste.

Nominated MP Godfrey Otsotsi, Nixon Korir (Lang’ata) and Daniel Tuitoek (Mogotio) accused the Nema of defying the House directives.

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