A judge has declined to lift an order stopping the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) from going on with renovations at the Uhuru Park, which was suspended early this month.
Justice Edward Wabwoto Thursday dealt NMS and its Director-General Mohammed Badi a blow after refusing to lift the order, saying allowing the process to go on will defeat the case filed by the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK).
The judge also dismissed claims by Lt General Badi that he was not served with the petition and that the order was issued without hearing his side.
“In view of the foregoing, I therefore, find that service was properly effected and all the respondents, including the 2nd respondent (Lt Gen Badi). The 2nd respondent cannot choose at this stage to argue that he was never personally served,” the judge said.
Justice Wabwoto said the fact that NMS and Mr Badi opted not to attend court after being served with the petition does not give them the right to complain.
“Furthermore, the conservatory orders issued were issued based on facts placed before the court which facts have not been proven to be false as the applicant and the 1st respondent (NMS) depose clearly that the environmental impact assessment license has not been issued to date,” the judge noted.
CPK, through its chairman, Booker Ngesa Omole, obtained orders on December 7 restraining NMS from carrying out any renovations, cutting down trees and any works on Uhuru Park, pending the determination of petition.
Mr Badi later complained that the orders were issued without giving him an opportunity to be heard and the court was left with a one-sided ‘highly sensationalised’ version and unsupported allegations when it proceeded to give the ruling.
He said the order was issued on the aspect that there was no public participation and no environmental impact assessment licence, yet there was extensive public participation, which had been undertaken from 2018.
Mr Badi further said an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report was in existence and that if the ruling is not set aside, the decision will have far-reaching consequences on the project, causing great public injustice.
The Director of Environment, Water and Sanitation at NMS, Ms Maureen Njeri, stated that public participation was an ongoing process and as such, there was extensive public participation which had been conducted in respect to the rehabilitation of the park
She also supported claims that an EIA report had been submitted to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema), and that they were waiting for an EIA license.