A court in Busia County has ordered for the immediate destruction of a multi-million shillings bridge on the biggest river in the county called Sio on the main road connecting Nambale, Butula, Busia and Malaba towns.
The court orders came after the county’s senior resident magistrate R.M. Washika found the chairman Nambale Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which financed the project, The Rural Electrification Authority, and the District Roads and Public Works Engineer of Busia guilty of property destruction and illegally constructing the bridge which resulted to the road curving into a private land.
The construction of the bridge is estimated to have cost the Nambale constituency CDF more than Kshs. 10 million during the tenure of former area Member of Parliament Chris Okemo.
The civil suit filed by the owner of the land Tobias Odhiambo Aringo through advocate Wycliffe Onsongo Obwoge also accused the Rural Electrification Authority of illegally constructing a power line over his land without seeking his permission to do so.
However, Mr. Obwoge said that there was a big challenge in effecting the court orders to destroy the bridge because of the logistics and security requirements involved, but were looking at the best possible ways on how the order can be executed.
Washika also ordered the respondents to pay Kshs. 357, 712 in damages of Napier grass worth Kshs. 1o2, 750, Trees worth Kshs. 164, 962 and sugarcane 90, 000 according to estimates from officials Agricultural, livestock and forestry department officials who testified before the court.
Mr. Aringo had told the court that the defendants had encroached on his land Bukhayo/Kisoko/4616 measuring 1.34 hectares which was interfered with by constructing the bridge, erecting an electricity power line and in the process destroying more than one acre of the said properties.
He prayed for orders of permanent injunction, destruction of the illegal bridge, removal of the erected road, the electricity power line and costs of the suit.
The Senior Resident Magistrate observed that the defendants had failed to challenge the plaintiff’s case therefore the court was forced to enter judgment in favour of the plaintiff against the defendants as prayed for his suit.
Washika said: “The plaintiff witnesses statements, their evidence and evidence on record confirm the pleaded damages, as such; the plaintiff is awarded Kshs. 357, 712 as special damages which were specifically pleaded and proved.”
The court also ordered the costs of the case awarded to the plaintiff as the defendants were given a permanent injunction restraining them to jointly and severally and their agents from interfering with Aringo’s land. The power line and the bridge were ordered destroyed.