What you need to know:
- Court says it will be the responsibility of the county government to ensure that the pollution it has caused on the land and the neighbourhood is remedied at its costs.
- The judge noted that the county government failed to follow the procedure for the establishment of a dumping site as provided by law.
The county government of Kilifi has been ordered to pay owners of a parcel of land in Malindi where it has been dumping waste Sh50 million in general damages.
The Environment and Land Court further ordered the devolved unit to pay Ms Amina Said Abdalla, Omar Said Swaleh and Ahmed Said Swaleh, the owners, Sh5 million for continued trespass on the 36-acre parcel of land in Casuarina area.
Justice Evans Makori also issued an order restraining the county government, its employees, or anyone else from dumping waste on the parcel of land and the general area of Casuarina village.
Justice Makori said that it will be the responsibility of the county government to ensure that the pollution it has caused on the land and the neighbourhood is remedied at its costs.
“This will be done under the supervision of the second defendant (National Environment and Management Authority) who will file a compliance report,” said Justice Makori sitting in Malindi.
The judge noted that the county government failed to follow the procedure for the establishment of a dumping site as provided by law, including getting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report from Nema and obtaining the necessary license.
Justice Makori said that the devolved unit had flagrantly defied the law to the detriment of the plaintiffs who have all along brought their grievances to the attention of the devolved unit.
He further said that the complainants had proved that the land has been rendered useless and cannot reasonably be sold due to degradation and dumping of waste on it since the days of the defunct Municipal Council of Kilifi.
“Even if an order for closure was made, it is unknown how long the land restoration may take to make it available for sale. The proposal to have it bought by the first defendant stands as the most appropriate remedy under the circumstances,” said the judge.
However, he noted that the claim by the plaintiff that an acre would fetch Sh20 million was not supported by a valuation report and neither the surveyor’s nor the EIA report captured the current market value.
“The plaintiff ought to have adduced evidence in the form of a valuation report from a land valuer to show the degradation over time and its loss of use over the period the first defendant has been in its use to their (plaintiffs) detriment,” said the judge.
The plaintiffs had told the court that the county government in collusion with Nema and the Attorney-General had trespassed upon their land and established an illegal dumping site.
On its part, Nema had told the court that it had not approved the land as a dumping ground since no application for approval had been sought and that it had not been requested to conduct an EIA as required by law.