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US consortium sues NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri team over Sh23b farm

By Bernard Sanga | February 13th 2017

A US consortium has sued the National Land Commission (NLC) for alleged frustration in putting up a Sh23 billion wind farm.

Cordisons International Ltd wants the court to compel NLC to give them a land lease for 11,100 acres of land, which the county government has approved for the project.

Cordison's three-phased project is expected to generate 300mw but the firm accused NLC of delaying the first phase after it allegedly refused to issue the land lease.

The firm went to the High Court in Nairobi early this month for a judicial review of what it describes as "NLC's continued refusal to grant a lease even after getting approval from all relevant Government agencies and the county government".

The matter has since been transferred to the Land and Environment Court in Malindi after the Attorney General raised a preliminary objection, saying the High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.

The matter resumes at the High Court on Wednesday after the AG's objection was overruled.

In papers filed at the court, Cordisons accused NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri of unlawfully pushing to allocate part of the land to another firm.

It alleged that Dr Swazuri wants to annex and allocate part of the land to Kenwind Holdings, a subsidiary of Belgium wind firm Electrawind, which was recently taken over by Elicio NV.

The court case is expected to put to rest a dispute over which of the two multi-national firms has a right to build a wind power farm in Lamu.

Kenwind Holdings wants 3,200 acres to erect a Sh21 billion wind power project to generate 90mw but Cordisons says the land allocated to the Belgium firm overlaps its site.

In October 2016, NLC claimed in a letter that the US company had not followed the right procedure in applying to develop the 11,100 parcel, a verdict contested by the county government and Cordisons.

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