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Environment Court awards Jamii Telcoms Sh1Million

SCI & TECH
By Patrick Kibet | Dec 14th 2020 | 2 min read
By Patrick Kibet | December 14th 2020
SCI & TECH

Environment Court has awarded Jamii Telecommunications Sh1 million after finding the county government guilty of destroying the Internet service provider's cables.
Justice Stephen Kibunja found that the county government had infringed on the company's constitutional right to fair administrative action.
The internet service provider on March 27, 2018, had moved to Court accusing the county of massive destruction of optic cables within Elgon View estates disconnecting its clients' business in the estate.
Through the company’s regional manager Wilson Kipruto Setim, they claimed they had obtained the necessary permits and paid the requisite licence fees in 2018.
They further told the court that they had been granted a way-leave to lay fibre cable within Eldoret town along Elgon View and West Indies after paying sh324,803.
They asked the court to order for restoration of all the destroyed optic cables and a further compensation of Sh25 Million for losses suffered during the alleged incident.
However, the county in its response claimed that no cables, tools, equipment belonging to the internet service provider was vandalized or destroyed.
In its defence, the county claimed the internet service provider acted irregularly when it moved to lay its infrastructure before the county had given them sufficient approvals.
They told the court that the county only granted a way leave and excavation on June 12, 2019 and not a planning development approval under section 33 of the Physical Planning Act.
“The receipts issued in acknowledgment of fees paid do not amount to approvals. That after an application for approval and fees required are received, the next process is assessment before an approval is issued,” the county argued before the court.
Justice Kibunja in his ruling noted that the photographs produced in court captured the overhead cables being brought down and not excavation of underground cables.
He added that the internet service provider has failed to provide evidence that their activity to put up overhead optic cable infrastructure was done in accordance to permits issued by the county.
However, Kibunja noted that the county had failed to produce evidence showing that it served notice to Jamii Telcoms requiring them to stop its activities or face sanctions.
He held that though the court found no basis for awarding the Sh25 Million damages, the right to fair administrative action was infringed by the county after it failed to serve an enforcement notice.
He noted that the failure to serve enforcement notice denied Jamii telcoms the right to appeal before the County and National Liaison Committees.
“The Court considers an award of Sh1 Million to be sufficient compensation for infringement of the Petitioner’s right under Article 47 of the Constitution,” Kibunja ruled.

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