The Kenya Railways Corporation has asked the High Court in a judicial review application filed before Lady Justice Pauline Nyamweya to compel the National Lands Commission (NLC) to disclose all monies paid to-date for land compensation of the Standard Gauge Railway project (SGR) as well as the unpaid amount and the challenges the commission is facing in making the payments, if any.
Through lawyer Peter Munge of MMC Africa Law, Kenya Railways argued that the case is of national importance and any delays in settling the compensations would affect a big number of people and that NLC needed to acknowledge the urgency of the matter.
“Timelines on the completion of the payments was agreed upon in a multi-agency meeting and I believe that the deadline was set for payment of compensation to land owners. The commission needs to understand the urgency of the matter given that part of the corridor has been taken up by the contractors,” Mr. Munge told the Court.
NLC on the other hand argued
that they were not refusing to make payments and that in fact partial payments
had been made but due process in making the payments as stipulated by the law
was slowing the process down.
“We are aware of the urgency of the matter given the public interest but the commission is not in a position to respond on the timelines on the payments. We have made some payments and in fact the remaining amount is about Ksh. 6 Billion. Making the payments requires a process and some of these matters are in court and that is why it is taking time,” NLC argued.
Kenya Railways agree that indeed NLC had made some payments but the said payments had only done so after being provoked by the suit filed against them. Lady Justice Pauline Nyamweya set the date for the next mention on February 13, 2019.
This comes shortly after Kenya Railways took the National Lands Commission to court over delay in paying 1,090 landowners a total of Ksh17.7 billion meant for land compensation that has called delays in some parts of the corridor for the Nairobi-Naivasha standard gauge railway.
Kenya Railways had argued that the National Lands Commission had received the compensation money from the National Treasury from between October 26, 2018 to December 2018 but had failed to remit the money to the affected land owners without any just reasons despite approval of the compensation schedules by different Government agencies.
Kenya Railways then moved to court to compel NLC to make the payments to affected land owners over fears that compensation delays were delaying the timelines set for the completion of the Standard Gauge Railway which is set for 31st May, 2019.