Kenyans will have to wait longer for cheaper supply of cooking gas after a court renewed orders restraining operations at the newly constructed LPG storage and import facility in Miritini.
The Sh1.1 billion facility, billed to be the largest jetty in Africa, was stopped after the project contractor UNISPAN Ltd successfully acquired an extension of a two-week injunction already in place.
A contractual dispute pitting the African Gas and Oil Limited (AGOL) and Unispan Ltd saw the two parties appear before a Mombasa High Court after a failed arbitration.
Unispan obtained restraining orders preventing AGOL from terminating the contract entered on February 15, 2011 for the construction of the facilities on plots 4737, 1515, 1798 and 3690.
In their last appearance before Justice Maureen Odero, the contractors, through their lawyer Sanjiv Kagram, said AGOL had paid them a sum of Sh665 million of the total agreed amount of Sh1.1 billion.
"The defendant instead of giving out payment has given my client a notice of termination. They are being vacated despite the fact they have completed perfectly 90 per cent of the work," said Kagram.
In their application, the contractors said they had completed 98 per cent of their contracted work.The contractors obtained orders restraining AGOL from selling, alienating, charging or transferring the facility pending the hearing and determination of the application.
The contractors also obtained orders restraining AGOL from removing or expelling their servants or agents at the premises for the purpose of completing the contractual works.
On issuing the restraining order on February 27, Odero directed for the status quo at the operations to be maintained till the suit is heard and determined.
However, the two parties could not agree on what the 'status quo' meant when they went before commercial court judge Justice Grace Nzioka yesterday and were directed back to Justice Odero for interpretation.
AGOL, through lawyer O. Nagpal, opposed the contractor's application for an extension of the injunction saying the orders had lapsed after the two-week period.
"The orders cannot be extended since they expired yesterday. The orders are non-existent," said Nagpal.In her ruling, Justice Odero said technicians could carry out tests at the facility and also commission the plant but it should not be fully operationalised.
Justice Odero also directed for the preliminary objection to be heard on March 20.AGOL is controlled by mogul Mohamed Jaffer, owner of Grain Bulk Handlers, and Ashok Doshi of Doshi Group.