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Pwani Oil suffers blow in land row

The Environment and Land Court in Mombasa dismissed an application by Pwani Oil Products Ltd
The Environment and Land Court in Mombasa dismissed an application by Pwani Oil Products Ltd which sought temporary orders pending hearing and determination of its case. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

An edible fats and oil manufacturing company has lost its bid to temporarily stop the Kenya National Highways Authority and National Land Commision (NLC) from acquiring or interfering with its possession of two parcels of land, for purposes of road expansion.

The Environment and Land Court in Mombasa dismissed an application by Pwani Oil Products Ltd which sought temporary orders pending hearing and determination of its case, challenging an award of Sh34.2 million by NLC for the intended compulsory acquisition of the land.

Justice Charles Yano said he was not satisfied that the company had established a prima facie case with a probability of success since it was apparent that several valuations have been undertaken.

"The applicant (company) has not demonstrated that it is likely to suffer irreparable harm or injury. The balance of convenience, if I had doubt, would be against hindering the construction of the road, a project that is for the benefit of the public, especially where the respondents have undertaken to compensate the applicant,"said Justice Yano.

He said irreparable harm or injury must be one that cannot be adequately compensated in damages, and thus he had no doubt it would be possible to obtain an appropriate valuation of the land for purposes of compensation.

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The judge further said Pwani Oil Products Ltd had failed to meet the threshold for the grant of the orders it sought.

NLC had published in the Kenya Gazette a notice of intention to obtain by compulsory acquisition the parcels of land for purposes of construction of the Magongo and Oil Refinery road.

Pwani Oil said it is the registered owner of the parcels of land which are located in Jomvu where it has put up various developments on the land to assist in carrying out its business.

The company told the court that following an inquiry that had been made to it by the respondents on November 20 2018 regarding acquisition of the properties, it wrote (a letter) to them drawing their attention to its investment on the land.

Pwani Oil said that being dissatisfied with the value awarded by NLC, it followed laid down procedure and wrote a letter dated May 8 2019 rejecting the award given, and went ahead and conducted a valuation and revised its claim to Sh181.1 million and communicated the same to NLC and Kenha.

It argued that the values awarded by Kenha and NLC were not fair and “are grossly inadequate” thus it is its case that their actions are unlawful, unconstitutional and it stands to lose its investments.

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