By David Ochami
Government agencies authorised the construction of the Great Lakes Ports Limited Container Freight Station (CFS) at Changamwe in Mombasa.
This is after project proprietors fulfilled aviation and environmental specifications three years ago, according to documents in our possession.
But the Great Lakes Ports Limited, which has already sank Sh1.5 billion in the project it says will cover 14 acres of the land near Moi International Airport in Mombasa, is threatening to sue the local DC Douglas Mutahi for allegedly describing the investment as a security risk that could endanger the airport’s flight path.
Besides serving local importers the proposed, CFS has been granted a license by the Uganda Government to handle the country’s imports and exports from Mombasa to the Inland Dry Port at Tororo.
Claims the project could be a security risk are alleged to have alarmed the Ugandan authorities. Friday, Mutahi admitted receiving a notice threatening to sue him over the alleged remarks made to a local newspaper, but he denies questioning the propriety of the project.
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Mutahi told The Standard On Saturday although he has not seen documents from the National Environment Management Authority (Nema), Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and other relevant agencies, he believes the project has fulfilled necessary requirements to proceed.
Great Lakes Ports Limited has, meanwhile written to Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa questioning Mutahi’s alleged conduct.
“We would like to draw your attention to the fact that we applied for and received all approvals from, Nema, Kenya Airports Authority KAA, and Municipal Council of Mombasa whose process took over two years,” says Jaruman Akida, the terminal manager in a letter to Marwa dated June 19.
Documents we have seen indicate KCAA and Nema allowed the construction, provided it fulfils certain conditions. “Approval is hereby granted for the proposed site but with restrictions due to proximity of an instrument runway and subject to conditions stipulated in the...inspectors technical report...,” says a letter written on July 10, 2009, by Truphosa Chocho, the KCAA director in charge of aviation safety standards and regulation.
Attached to the approval was a technical report by KCAA Chief Ground Operations Inspector Peter Munyao, who warned project managers to ensure non use of reflective material that could confuse pilots or infringe on the airport.
On July 14, 2009, Nema also approved the construction with “mandatory conditions” including KCAA regulations and the collapsible wall in a letter written by BM Langwen for then Director-General of Nema.
“Nema has reviewed the environment impact assessment project report of the above mentioned project and in light of the provisions of the Environmental Management and Coordination Act, 1999; has approved the proposed project...” subject to 17 conditions to ensure “environmentally sustainable development.”