HIGH COURT DECLINES TO STOP THE CONSTRUCTION OF RAILWAY LINE

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By SAM ALFAN

High court judge Justice George Odunga has declined to issue orders stop the planned construction, which has been commenced by President Uhuru Kenyatta today in Mombasa.

The Dock Union with other two Twalib Bwajuma and Khalid Hussein Mwinyi moved to court yesterday arguing that the process in which the tender was awarded to China Road and Bridge Corporation was unlawful and the government did follow the required procedure as its required by law.

Justice George Odunga declined to issue orders that could stop the planned construction, until the matter is determined. However, the judge said that the applicants can still apply to stop the construction, at any stage, when they get a clear picture of the contract and where the process had reached.

The Judge further added that concerns raised by Dock Workers Union over the scheduled construction of railway line from Mombasa to Malaba were serious.

Yesterday justice Odunga certified the matter argent the application by the trade union and two other applicantswho came to seeking orders to quash the contract and directed them to file the main case within seven days.

“I am satisfied that the issues raised are grave and serious. The applicants have established a prima facie case and I hereby grant them leave to apply for orders as sought in the petition,” said. Justice Odunga.  

The Judge made the ruling in Nairobi law court while President Uhuru Kenyatta was launching the construction of the railway in Mombasa. The construction of the railway from Mombasa to Kigali, is expected to be completed in 2018. 

The union says that the decision to directly award the contract to the Chinese company- through single-sourcing- without following the laid down procedures per the law

But the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure defended the contract saying that the Cabinet had directed that the railway be developed through a government- to-government arrangement and supported by the government budget and a railway development fund.He defended the Chinese company saying that it had constructed over 14 railways across the world and had been recommended by China. In a sworn statement, Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said that the contract had been approved by the Ministry and the Attorney General’s office.

He further said that the government has set aside Sh22 billion for the railway development in the 2013/14 budget and established a Railway Development Fund which will be financed by a 1.5 percent levy on the cost of all imports. The levy is expected to raise at least Sh15 billion in 2013/14, he said.

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