Court overrules MP in pipeline case

March 18, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – The Court of Appeal has allowed the Kenya Pipeline Company to continue with the laying of a multibillion-shilling pipeline project which seeks to ease transportation and storage of petroleum products in the Great Lakes region.

The Court on Friday lifted an order blocking the firm from laying a second pipeline which runs through a property belonging to Kiambaa MP Stanley Githunguri in Karen.

Justices Philip Waki, Alnashir Visram and Joseph Nyamu said stopping the project which runs across many countries in the region would be against the greater public interest.

"It is apparent that whereas the respondent\’s (Githunguri\’s) injury if any could easily be compensated in damages, the position of the applicant (KPC) in terms of the harm to public interest should the laying of the pipeline or delay thereof occur in both monetary terms and public good would be colossal by any standard," said the judges.

The highest court in the land overturned a decision by the High Court which halted the project after Mr Githunguri moved to the court complaining that KPC had undertaken the expansion without his approval.

The MP had also complained that the company had damaged his property and exposed it to vandalism and trespass.

Mr Githunguri said KPC had breached terms of an agreement they had entered in 1991 in which he had allowed them to lay the pipeline.

The agreement only provided for a right to access for digging trenches to lay the pipes, which formed part of Mombasa-Nairobi oil products pipeline extension to western.

However, on September 10 2003, the employees of Kenya Pipeline Company unlawfully removed the gates to his plot, thus exposing him and his family to theft.

In their ruling, the appeal judges said Mr Githunguri\’s damages could be covered by compensation as it was negligible compared to what KPC would lose if the project is halted.

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