21 June 2014

Ethiopia: LRT Contractors Sued for Damages

Meles Bisrat, a local gravel and pebbles supplier, filed a lawsuit against the Chinese Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and an Israeli contractor, Tidhar Construction Company, both involved in the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, for putting out of order a quarry site that allegedly belonged to the plaintiff but has now been turned to a soil dumping site for the project.

The two contractors are involved in the LRT project, where one (CREC) is undertaking the main task of laying down the rail tracks while Tidhar Earth Moving Company is undertaking part of the 2.5 billion birr road project that is expected to complement the LRT system. According to the case file, the plaintiff is demanding compensation worth 36 million birr for occupying a quarry site consisting of 40,945 square meters located near Midroc in Woreda 13 of Bole Sub city.

The charge, however, states that the two companies have taken upon themselves to takeover the site as a dumping ground for their excavation work. So far, the two companies have dumped a total of 1,318,960 cubic meters of soil at the quarry site covering up and burying 564,238 cubic meter minerals that the plaintiff was supposed to mine from the site, the charge read. Furthermore, the charge details show that Meles has renewed his business license for the current Ethiopian fiscal year during which time he was not able to mine and supply construction gravel and pebbles to the market. The case further details how the plaintiff went to the Addis Ababa Environmental Protection Authority for a solution, who in turn contacted the sub city to rectify the situation. However, nothing seems to have come out of the administrative side of things, the charge read. On the other hand, the two companies that are implicated by the charges also have different sides to the story. There written responses to the charge states that they too have been granted permits to use the site as a dumping ground for the excavation work of the LRT by the authority. The charges filed at the beginning of the year have not yet been heard and are scheduled for a formal hearing on the 16th of July 2014. Beyond the dumping, the charges also state that the heavy construction machinery and trucks parked on the quarry site also impeded the plaintiff's from moving afflicting heavy financial loss to it, according to the charges. Meles has petitioned the court to get compensation for his losses. All in all, the plaintiff estimated the forgone revenue to reach 36 million birr for which he requires compensation.

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