EIA Expert Summoned to Court in Itare Dam Row

The judges want the specialist to shed more light on issues such as public participation, effects of the project and the mitigation measures in place.

EIA Expert Summoned to Court in Itare Dam Row

An expert who compiled a report on the environmental impact of the multibillion shilling Itare dam project in Nakuru County has been summoned by the High court.

A three-judge bench formed by the chief Justice to hear and determine the case challenging the construction of the dam  directed the Rift Valley Water Services Board (RVWSB) to ensure the expert witness comes to court. The order was issued during a status conference.

The judges said they want the specialist to shed more light on issues such as public participation, and the adverse effects of the project as well as the mitigation measures in place.

The court ruled that they were summoning the third respondent's expert to explain the issues raised in the petition.

In the three separate petitions filed by the Luo Council of Elders, the Kipsigis Council of Elders and the Ecosystems Social Economic Development Organization, the board is listed as the 3rd respondent.

A verbal application by Mr Elvis Nanda, who was holding brief for the petitioners' lawyers successfully, convinced the court to have the expert witness appear in court to make clear the assessment report. 

The court and the three parties,  agreed that the petitions be consolidated to one petition due to the similarities of the issues raised

The petitioners in the three cases, filed in 2016, sued Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, his Environment and Natural Resources counterpart Judi Wakhungu and the RVWSB for allegedly not taking the necessary steps when implementing the project.

According to the petitioners the project would directly affect their counties, adding that the regions are at great risk of being turned into dry lands.

Dismissing the claims as false, the respondents said the environment impact assessment conducted indicates the project will have no such effects.

The court has ordered the respondents to file supplementary affidavits, annexing the structural layout of the project, by December 31 in order for them to understand the case better.

The case will be heard on February 26 next year.

Source : Daily Nation

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