The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Mombasa County government have defended the existence of a controversial metal refinery plant in the coast region.
They came to the defense of the plant during the hearing of a case in which victims affected by lead poisoning are seeking a Sh 1.6 billion compensation package for 3,000 families living at Owino Uhuru area in Jomvu constituency, Mombasa County.
The matter is listed for hearing for two days before Justice Anne Omollo after the cross examination of 10 witnesses with five more to go at the Mombasa law court.
The county government through acting County Attorney, Jimmy Waliaula said in a witness statement the suit against the defunct Mombasa Municipal Council was misguided.
He urged the court to dismiss the matter filed by victims of lead poisoning allegedly through emissions from the smelting factory near the slum area.
“The affected victims led by Kelvin Musyoka have not pinpointed any wrongdoing on the part of county government,” he pointed out.
In his statement through the county lawyer, Muturi Gakuo he exonerated the county government from blame for the misfortune that befell the residents of Owino Uhuru slums.
He said the defunct municipal council acted within the applicable laws where the setting up of the factory is concerned.
“The municipal council was in no way involved in measuring and determining the toxicity of the lead levels that came into contact with the residents,” he insisted.
The NEMA Senior Inspector in charge of Compliance and Enforcement, Martin Shimba said they have received response from the plant currently with Max industries Ltd in which they said they complied with the law.
He said in his statement he has no doubt they discharged their duty properly and legally and in consultation with all relevant agencies.
By Hussein Abdullahi