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Ruling clears way for Tatu City project to resume

Tuesday July 07 2020
tatux

Artist’s impression of Tatu City. PHOTO | FILE

By JOSEPH WANGUI

The Sh240 billion Tatu City project has received a boost after the Environment and Lands in Thika quashed an order that restrained Kiambu County government from approving the developer's building plans for six land parcels.

Justice Lucy Gacheru found that the interim order issued by Kiambu senior principal magistrate on October 31, 2017 was inappropriate as the lower court acted in excess of its jurisdiction.

The judge said the order obtained by Mr Daniel Gitau Mbugua was issued after the High Court declined to grant the same. In the order, the magistrate court suspended the approvals pertaining to six blocks of land.

Justice Gacheru ruled that the lower court fell in error by attempting to deal with disputes concerning development permissions when the Physical Planning Act has already provided how such disputes should be handled.

"From the Act, it is clear that a party that is aggrieved should appeal to the High Court and given that the magistrate is not a High Court, it is this court's considered view that the magistrate acted in excess of its jurisdiction," said Justice Gacheru.

The judge was ruling on a judicial review application filed by Tatu City Ltd and Kofinaf Company Ltd complaining that they were being harassed, leading to huge losses and damages.

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Led by Mr Christopher Barron, the applicants said should the court fail to intervene they will no longer be able to preserve, promote and enhance land value through sustainable development within Tatu City.

Mr Barron told the judge that the lower court did not only lack powers to review planning permissions but the plaintiff, Mr Mbugua, had not exhausted the mechanisms for appeal.

He narrated that on September 26, 2017, Mr Stephen Mwagiru, acting through lawyer Michael Osundwa Sakwa, asked to be supplied with information relating to the planning permissions involving Tatu City, claiming the permissions had been issued to the developers irregularly.

He said Mr Mwagiru, through the lawyer, later on October 9, 2017 filed a case at the High Court Nairobi.

Simultaneously, Mr Mwagiru filed another application at the High Court in Kiambu. But the matter was to transferred to Thika Environment court where the judge on October 26, 2017 declined to grant the orders suspending the approvals.

Mr Barron added that four days later, the case was withdrawn but a Mr Daniel Mbugua filed a fresh case at the Kiambu magistrate court and secured an interim order suspending approval of the building plans.

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