alexa Maraga picks bench to hear stalled case on power project - Daily Nation

Maraga picks bench to hear stalled case on power project

Wednesday October 23 2019

Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited

From left: Judges Yuvinalis Angima, Peter Muchoki Njoroge and Grace Kemei during the hearing of the Sh70 billion Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited on October 23, 2019. PHOTO | CHARLES WANYORO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CHARLES WANYORO
By CHARLES WANYORO
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Chief Justice David Maraga has appointed a new three-judge bench to hear a Sh70 billion wind power project case that stalled after three judges recused themselves.

Judges Peter Muchoki Njoroge, Yuvinalis Angima and Grace Kemei said they will hear the matter from January 20 to 23.

They observed that the case against Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited, which had been pending for over five years, was marred by constant adjournments.

Justice Njoroge observed that the matter registered 39 appearances, out of which only 13 actual hearings were recorded. The rest were either mentions or rulings on some applications.

He said the four allocated days are enough for the bench to listen to evidence from the two remaining witnesses and conclude the matter.

The case stalled in July after Justice Boaz Olao, Justice Enock Cherono and Lady Justice Lucy Mbugua disqualified themselves from the matter when a lawyer questioned their impartiality and allegedly used “intemperate language and disparaging remarks”.

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The judges also agreed to reverse a decision to kick out all members of public made by the previous judges after an interpreter said she had been threatened.

Eighteen witnesses have already testified in the case where a section on Marsabit county residents claim that Lake Turkana Wind Power Ltd was irregularly allocated their ancestral land.

Mr Mohamed Itarakwa, Mr Kochale Jomo Jale, Mr Issa Jitengwe Gambare and Mr David Tomasot Arakhole filed the case.

They claim that land acquisition was not done in accordance with the Trust Land Act and the Constitution and thus want the land to revert to the community.

The residents say they cannot access the expansive land for grazing, and want the nullification of the title deed issued to the wind power company which seeks to generate 310mw and supply to the national grid.

They have enjoined the Marsabit county government, attorney -general, the Chief Land Registrar and the National Land Commission as respondents.

Wednesday, lawyer Amina Hashi, for the plaintiffs, unsuccessfully applied for the court to issue her with handwritten notes of the three judges who recused themselves, claiming that some evidence had not been captured.

However, Justice Njoroge said courts could not produce two sets of records to different parties and urged Ms Hashi to raise any complaints as the case continues.