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Malindi judge warns parties over delay to Sh23 billion wind-power suit

By Nehemiah Okwembah | Published Thu, February 8th 2018 at 10:34, Updated February 8th 2018 at 10:54 GMT +3

MALINDI, KENYA: There was reprieve for the US consortium of investors Cordisons International (K) limited and its rival Kenwind limited after the Environment and land court in Malindi set a date for ruling on a long standing case in Kiongwe, Lamu County. 

The two firms are locked in a suit for control of a Sh23 billion wind power investment in Lamu county.

Wednesday’s ruling follows a protracted legal contest between the parties after Cordisons International sued the chairman of the National Land Commission (NLC) and Physical Planner in the lands ministry over denial of land rights as required by law.
 
The two firms have been fighting for land rights at Baharini area in Lamu County to explore wind power generation.
 
Cordisons moved to court to quash the allocation of part of their parcel of land to Kenwind Limited, a land it claims was approved and awarded to them years ago so that it could develop and generate wind power.
 
Cordisons International alleges that the NLC chairman and the physical planner have favoured Kenwind at its expense.

It seeks court orders to reverse what it considers to be an unjust encroachment on its property by a rival firm through the connivance of NLC.
 
Cordisons sued in January 2017 alleging denial of land lease instruments by NLC despite receiving all statutory approvals from government agencies including the Lamu county government and her predecessor Lamu county council since 2009 after approval by the Energy ministry to develop wind energy.
 
The American consortium obtained interim orders stopping Kenwinds and other organs from proceeding with any transactions on the disputed land in the month of May 2017.           
 
The matter has been pending before the Malindi Environment and Land Court amidst a myriad of adjournments and an application by Kenwind challenging the court's jurisdiction which was put to rest in July last year.
 
On Wednesday while slating the ruling date for May 2 this year, Justice J.O Olola said that he will rely on written submissions filed in court to deliver a judgement arguing that the case had taken too long.
 
“I want to be through with this matter in two weeks’ time because it has taken so long,” said justice Olola.
 
There was some delay in court when Cordisons lawyer Francis Wasuna accused Kenwinds lawyer Kiarie Kariuki of deliberately staying away from court even after having knowledge that he was supposed to be in court.
 
A lawyer representing one of the interested parties Maurice Kilonzo who tried to contact him on phone surprised the court when he showed a text message allegedly from Kariuki stating that he was not aware that the matter was in court.
 
This forced justice Olola to set a date and decided to rely on written submissions instead of oral submissions.
 
Last year in October, he was forced to adjourn the case three times in a single day as respondents and Kenwind an interested party failed to file their affidavits and submissions in time.
 
Cordisons International seeks to invest Sh23 billion for its 100 megawatts of its phase one project in Kiongwe area of Lamu and claims its investment has been delayed for over 27 months by NLC's failure to release land lease instruments.
 
Meanwhile Cordisons accuses NLC of refusing to execute the lease instruments as advised by the Lamu County government in accordance with the constitution, land act 2012 and the law and entering an approval for the rival firm instead.
 
Cordisons International accuses the director of physical planning of advertising and publishing a gazette of a Part Development Plan (PDP) for Kenwind which overlapped Cordisons' PDP which had also been approved by the county government and gazette on 5th of august 2016.


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