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Government risks compensating Orbit chemical Sh18b in land dispute

By Paul Ogemba | August 18th 2016

NAIROBI, KENYA: The government could be forced to pay Sh18 billion of public funds to a manufacturing company for failing to settle a court order issued four years ago.
This follows a decision by Justice Edward Muriithi allowing Orbit Chemical Industries Limited to pursue the amount awarded to it in 2012 after the government took its 95 acre land in Embakasi to settle squatters.
The initial amount awarded by Lady Justice Roseline Nambuye in 2012 was Sh6 billion, but the company says the interest has accrued to Sh18 billion which they want the government to pay within 14 days.
"The Attorney General and Solicitor General have refused to pay the amount even when the interest continues to grow. They need to pay us now to save public funds from further wastage and end their unnecessary delaying tactics of denying us our right of compensation," said Sachen Chandaria.
According to Mr Chandaria, the company wanted to develop the land in 1987 but the government forcefully took over possession and put a caveat denying them access.
In 2004, the company moved to court seeking to be allowed back to their land. Then High Court Judge Jackton Ojwang agreed with their arguments and ordered the government to remove all the squatters they had resettled on the land and return it to the company.
However, the government proposed that instead of evicting the people who had already settled on the land, they could negotiate an out of court settlement to compensate the company.
After several years of negotiation and the government's position that it had to seek approval from treasury before agreeing to any amount due to the company, they settled on Sh6 billion as the total amount that should be paid.
The agreement was presented in court before Justice Nambuye who then issued a judgment in 2012 compelling the government to pay the amount at an interest rate of 14 percent per annum.
The company argued that despite several reminders, the government has refused to honour the decision forcing it to seek fresh orders to have them pay.

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