Thange River oil spill victims to wait longer for compensation

Tuesday June 11 2019

Acting KPC boss Hudson Andambi

Acting Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director Hudson Andambi faces the National Assembly Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on June 11, 2019, to answer questions on the Thange River oil spill. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

SAMWEL OWINO
By SAMWEL OWINO
More by this Author

Victims of the 2015 oil spill in Thange River, Kibwezi, will have to wait longer for compensation because most of the claims cannot be verified.

Acting Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director Hudson Andambi on Tuesday told a parliamentary committee that some of the injuries could not be linked to the spillage.

Appearing before the National Assembly Environment committee, Mr Andambi said 1,182 claims relating to medical injuries had not been paid as the insurer, CIC, required strict proof.

“What became difficult was verifying claims relating to personal injury. It is not very easy to verify claims of those who are claiming to have suffered ill health as a result of the spillage,” he said.

CLAIMANT DETAILS

KPC also told MPs that claimants had also failed to provide details of treatment and other expenses incurred so that their claims can be processed.

“The forms filled do not contain sufficient details and proof to enable an assessment for payment. CIC, through KPC, has repeatedly asked the affected residents to supply further information to facilitate medical claims assessment but none has been forthcoming,” he said.

Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu, who asked the compensation question in the House before being referred to the committee, on Tuesday put the management to task over reluctance to compensate the victims.

Ms Mbalu told the committee that her constituents had been affected by the spillage. She said it had also affected the economy of the area as the land remains unsafe for cultivation.

“We are talking about the health of an entire village. It is a serious issue that needs to be urgently addressed by KPC,” she said.

“Women, children have been affected while men are no longer active on matters of societal development,” she added.

DISCRIMINATION

Ms Mbalu also accused KPC of discrimination in terms of compensation, pointing out that some of the affected were forced to sign claim forms and paid less.

“What criteria was used to pay some people as low as Sh3,000 while others got Sh100,000?” posed Ms Mbalu.

KPC told MPs that so far it has paid out Sh31 million for 266 claims out of 4,267 received.

A total of 491 claims were found to be fraudulent and were rejected by KPC. A further 1,272 claims were rejected because the claimants were not residents of Thange, hence were not affected by the oil spill.