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Blow to Governor Awiti as NEMA halts his multi-million project

By James Omoro | September 13th 2019

A State agency has stopped the construction of a Sh369 million stadium in the county due to environmental concerns.

The National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) said the contractor had not met regulatory requirements.

The construction of the stadium started in July this year. According to Governor Cyprian Awiti, the stadium is being upgraded to reach modern standards.

County Nema Director John Maniafu said the project requires a certificate showing that an environmental impact assessment report was carried out before construction started.

According to Mr Maniafu, Nema communicated with the county department for sports and culture on July 25, informing officials there that the project was being undertaken contrary to the law.

Arrest order

“The department’s failure to act made us decide to stop the project,” said Maniafu.

He said if Nema's directive was ignored, then anyone found working at the construction site would be arrested.

The county Executive for Sports and Culture Fredrick Odero said efforts were being made to ensure the project complies with Nema regulations

"Nema has contacted us. We are putting efforts in place to comply with their requirements,” said Mr Odero.

He assured Homa Bay residents that the project would go on as planned.

“What I know is that the project will be completed,” Odero said.

Prior to the Nema directive, the contractor had already demolished the old ablution block and podium in preparation to put up new structures.

The stadium has been one of Mr Awiti's pet projects since he came to power in 2013. It has been plagued by a number of corruption scandals that have seen construction delayed over the years.

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