Kenya: MPs Order Probe Into Nakuru Flower Firm's Condemned Dams

16 November 2019

The parliamentary Committee on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources wants fresh investigations into condemned dams owned by a giant flower firm in Njoro, Nakuru County.

During a tour of the site on Saturday, four committee members directed the Water Resource Management Authority (Warma) and the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) to freshly investigate Sojanmi Springfields' dams to establish if they are safe.

Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), Charity Kathambi (Njoro) Hillary Koskei (Kipkelion West) and Ali Wario (Garsen) toured the site on behalf of the committee chaired by Kareke Mbiuki (Maara).

Mr Tayari said they would also listen to the communities' concerns and that they would invite all interested parties to give their views.

Ms Kathambi noted the need to protect both the people and the environment.

"My interest as the area MP is to ensure investors are cautious in their activities to avoid jeopardising on safety of the people and environment," said Ms Kathambi.

ILLEGAL DAMS

Sojanmi Springfields Limited has been on the spot for operating illegal dams that have resulted in massive losses for communities.

The Environment and Lands Court in Nakuru condemned its two dams, terming them a risk to residents and the environment.

In his judgment of June 19, Justice Sila Munyao declared one of the dams illegal and revoked its licences, saying they were illegally issued to permit its construction.

The case rose from an incident in 2014, when a dam belonging to the firm burst its walls and so thousands of cubic meters of water flowed downhill, sweeping across three villages in Njoro, causing severe damage.

The judge ordered the firm to compensate residents whose crops were damaged and to rehabilitate lands degraded by the chemical effluents that were released when the dam burst.

CONCERNS

But Ms Jane Githinji, who filed the case against the firm, said no single order by the court had been effected.

Ms Githinji claimed the company disregarded the orders and continued to release chemicals into the environment, putting the people at risk.

"We are worried that the 600 families will be swept away by the waters should the leaking dam burst," she said.

She was, however, optimistic that action would follow the committee's meeting.

Contacted on Frriday, Sojanmi General Manager Ashesh Mishra declined to comment on the matter.

The firm said, however, that is had appealed against the court orders.

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