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County government oppose withdrawal of petition on KEMRI land

Lawyers representing both KEMRI and the Kirinyaga County Government in the land matter outside Kerugoya High Court on Monday March 9, 2020. Photo by Irungu Mwangi/KNA.

A petitioner has claimed in court that his life was in danger after he submitted an application to withdraw a case he had filled against the establishment of an ultra-modern health facility by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Mwea.

Leonard Kuria, shocked the Kerugoya Environment and Land Court when he stood up and claimed he was not sure of his safety between yesterday and this Friday when the matter will come up for ruling of his application and further direction.

The  matter which was coming for hearing took the new dimension when the lawyer, Paul Nyamodi, defending the Kirinyaga County Government in the case, informed the Court that he had not been served with the said application by the petitioner.

Equally, the lawyer for KEMRI, Wilfred Lusi, said he had learnt of the said application after being served by the petitioner when he arrived in the Court   on Monday morning.

Nyamodi, while opposing the application, informed the Court he was opposed to it since it was not a civil but a constitutional one under the Mutunga Rules .

“My Lord, this application falls under the Mutunga’s rule 27 since it is a constitutional one and requires that it be served to all the parties, argued before this court before getting determined,” he submitted.

Lusi on the other hand urged the Court to discharge the conservatory orders earlier on the applicant had been granted in order to allow a contractor back to the site of the Sh. 15 billion projects situated on a 100 acre land at Wamumu village.

He told the Court, already KEMRI had spent Sh 60 million to put a perimeter wall on the land while the contractor is urgently required to start putting up a modern Research Laboratory at the site.

“The contract cost due to the delay might even exceed the initial project cost and the earlier this matter is heard and disposed- of, the better for the Institute and Kenyans at large who stand to benefit from the scientific research, that will be undertaken at the facility, “he told the Court .

Justice Enock Cherono Chirchir, who is presiding over the case asked the parties involved to make their written submissions within the next two days while the matter will come back this Friday for ruling of Kuria’s application and for further direction.

On the alleged threat to the petitioner’s life, Chirchir ordered him to rush to the DCI offices in Kerugoya and report the matter upon which the police will know how to have his security guaranteed.

“Since this is not a simple matter as it touches on the life of the applicant, I am urging you to go straight to the DCI’s offices in Kerugoya and make a report over the threats where you will also be required to disclose their nature,”Chirchir told Kuria.

Kuria also told the Court he had on his own volition decided to withdraw the case, citing the huge public interest on the multibillion projects.

He went to Court and sued KEMRI on October 24, last year and obtained orders which stopped any development on the said 100 acre land, leading to the stalling of the mega project, claiming there was no public participation when the project was launched in 2015.

The project which is meant to be undertaken by the Kenya Medical and Research Institute (KEMRI), should have taken off in 2015 but stalled after the area County Government failed to hand over a tittle deed to the organization.

The County Government has been named as the first respondent in the civil suit, while the area Department of Land, Housing and Urban Development is the second respondent.

KEMRI on the other hand was listed in the petition as an interested party by the petitioner.

By  Irungu  Mwangi

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