London Distillers Kenya Limited has moved to court to challenge the ongoing construction of Great Wall Gardens 3 housing project in Athiriver, Machakos county.
On Friday LDK filed a case with Environmental Tribunal seeking to stop the Ksh3.2b project under the Affordable housing a few days after Parliament ordered National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to issue the developer a license to construct.
Erdemann Property Limited managing Director Zeyun Yang has accused London Distillers Kenya’s management of using all strategies to frustrate his multi-billion housing projects.
Yang said that even after Parliament recently directed the NEMA to immediately grant him a license to develop its third phase of housing units in Athi River which he had been given, LDK still frustrates his efforts.
The investor said that the distiller who still discharges affluent into the site where they recently did a ground breaking to construct Sh3.2 billion worth Great Wall Phase Three project in Mavoko, Machakos County, decided to move to court after realising that Erdemann was about to launch a complaint about the discharge.
Yang said that the discharge was interfering with the construction operations on the site as engineers, among other human resources working on the project fear for their lives.
“I am wondering why LDK can’t adhere to NEMA guidelines and directives issued to it by Parliamentary Committee on Environment. This is too much, they are now discharging their affluence into our project site,” said Yang.
“Must Athi River residents keep suffering due to pollution from LDK?” he asked.
The seemingly frustrated developer said it was suspect that some NEMA officials could be colluding with LDK management to frustrate his projects.
Since its inception, Erdemann Property Limited has constructed over 4,600 housing units and handed over more than 4,000 units to home-buy owners.
The proposed Great Wall Gardens Phase three comprises of 688 units and is expected to be completed in a year’s time.
However, the claims were dismissed by LDK’s environmentalist Chris Michy stating that the discharge were not affluent, but water for irrigation.
“We were there in the morning, it is not affluent but water from our kitchen gardens that drained through the boundary wall,” said Michy.
Michy said the irrigation water drained into Great Wall Gardens Phase Three project site due to the ongoing construction.
He said that the project’s foundation had interfeared with their irrigation line’s level hence the flow.
Michy who spoke to angaza news on phone said they had, however closed the water valve so as to avoid the conflict between the two companies.“Our affluent line does not pass there, we have since closed the valve to avoid the conflict.”
Prior to the license issuance, The Parliamentary Committee on Implementation of House Resolutions had accused National Environment Management Authority (Nema) of frustrating the property developer following its dispute with London Distillers Kenya (LDK) Limited over pollution.
“We are directing Nema to issue the license to Erdemann without further delays. I direct the committee secretariat to immediately write to the Nema indicating that it has no ground to deny Erdemann Property licence. They have to proceed and allow them to do their development,” Moitalel ole Kenta, who chairs the committee, said.
The committee had threatened to summon Nema, Water Resources Management Authority (Warma), Environment and Water ministries over the continued failure by LDK to comply with pollution levels.
The MPs heard that the Nema had stopped the environmental impact assessment (EIA) processing until its own technical committee is prepared.
The property developer said it was not privy to the decision to form a committee nor a meeting held on May 16 at the London Distillers premises.
Erdemann appeared before MPs to complain over failure by Nema to fully implement a report of the Environment Committee that ordered LDK to put in place a waste management technology at its factory or risk being shut down after six months of adoption of the report by the House.
Yang said the regulator had refused to implement the committee’s recommendations and subjected his firm to discrimination in the issuance of the environment impact assessment license to construct phase three of Great Wall Gardens comprising 688 units.
Erdemann, which petitioned Parliament for investigations into LDK’s environmental activities, claimed it had lost Sh500 million due to Nema’s frustration in the issuance of licenses.
“We already have Machakos County government approvals but … we are suffering huge loses to the tune of Sh10 million per day as a result of delay to start the proposed Great Wall 3 project and we would like to claim these loses from rhw Nema to shoulder part of this loses,” Mr Yang said.
Parliament in September 2018, directed the Athi-River based alcohol maker to also maintain high environmental standards that will ensure safe and healthy disposal of waste.
London Distillers has been embroiled in a dispute with residents of Great Wall Gardens, owned by Erdemann Property Ltd, over claims of emptying toxic waste in Athi River.
Area residents have accused the distiller of failure to put in place appropriate technology in the management of waste.
Nominated MP Godfrey Otsotsi, Nixon Korir (Lang’ata) and Daniel Tuitoek (Mogotio) accused the Nema of defying the House directives.
The woes between the two companies have taken a twist since MPs claimed that NEMA has been compromised in a case where Parliament ordered the closure of London Distillers over environmental pollution.
Members of the National Assembly’s Implementation Committee expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace the environmental agency is taking to implement the House report.
The MPs threatened to sanction an independent probe to ascertain complaints of environmental pollution by the distiller.