Nyoike ordered not to enter into coal deal
Posted Saturday, August 18 2012 at 19:50
- High Court Judge George Dulu issued an order restraining Energy PS Patrick Nyoike and Attorney-General Githu Muigai from entering into any agreement with Fenxi Mining Industry Company.
- The Chinese company last November won the deal to mine coal in Mui Basin, Kitui County.
- Six petititoners are questioning the process through which the tender was granted.
There is a new twist in the controversy surrounding the award of a multi-billion-shilling coal mining tender to a Chinese company; the High Court in Machakos has suspended it.
High Court Judge George Dulu issued an order on Tuesday restraining Energy PS Patrick Nyoike and Attorney-General Githu Muigai from entering into any agreement with Fenxi Mining Industry Company which last November won the deal to mine coal in Mui Basin, Kitui County.
Mr Dulu granted the ex-parte court order sought on a certificate of urgency by six petitioners on behalf of the local community contesting the suitability and capabilities of Fenxi Mining Industry Group to do the job.
They are also questioning the process through which the tender was granted. (READ: Fresh queries over Chinese coal firm awarded Sh8bn job)
Enjoined in the petition are Chinese real estate company Jingu Group and Great Lakes Corporation, a Kenyan firm that apparently partnered with the Chinese to win the lucrative tender.
The judge said that pending the hearing and conclusion of the constitutional petition, all plans to explore, evaluate, extract, develop, process, store and dispose of coal and coal bed methane by the companies should be suspended.
Mr Dulu said the court would issue inter-parte summons in two weeks and allowed the petitioners to serve the defendants through a media notice.
The court’s move means that the parties will not sign an investment and benefit-sharing agreement, which is mandatory before the concession in excess of $100 million (Sh8.4 billion) can take effect.
A consortium of the three companies won the coal mining tender in controversial circumstances and has attracted stiff opposition from a section of Kitui County leaders who have threatened to block it.
The petitioners said in their affidavit that the ministry of Energy’s deal with the private firms would lock residents of Mui Baisin out of enjoyment of benefits accruing from extraction of the coal.
The basin covers nearly 500 square kilometres is estimated to have 400 million tonnes of coal deposits.
The petitioners want the project on blocks C and D halted and declared null and void on grounds that the tender was illegal and that the community’s right to access information under Article 35 of the Constitution had been violated.
Lack of such information had denied them knowledge on how best to participate as interested parties, they said, while it was also not possible to determine the technical suitability of the firms to handle the environmental challenges that come with mining.
“The first respondent’s [PS] conduct violated the national values and principles of inclusiveness, participation of the people, accountability and transparency in making and implementation of policy decisions as provided for under Article 10 of the Constitution,” they said.