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Court of Appeal postpones Owino Uhuru residents Sh1.3bn poison pay judgement



NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – Dwellers of Owino Uhuru slum in Mombasa have suffered a blow after the Court of Appeal postponed judgement of Sh1.3 billion compensation award.

The appeal case No.E004 of 2020 was to be delivered today after 2-years of waiting.

The informal settlement residents were affected by poison from the Metal Refineries (EPZ) Ltd, a lead smelting factory with some residents contracting permanent health problems as well as deaths.

Center For Justice Governance & Environmental (CJGEA) Action Executive Director Phyllis Omido said today they received a one-sentence email saying that the case had been deferred.

“We strongly decry the move by the court of appeal. We note with much concern that the people of Owino Uhuru have been victimized all through this process of seeking Justice legally,” CJGEA said in a statement.

“This is further victimization by another arm of government. Many have died and many more await reprieve by way of access to much needed health intervention. Justice delayed is Justice denied,” it added.

Earlier, the Environment and Land Court Judge Ann Omollo directed the Government to shoulder 70 per cent of the compensation for being complicit with the matter.

It blamed the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for failing to discharge its mandate as per the law.

The authority was accused of assisting the factory to circumvent the law instead of holding it to account.

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Whereas Metal Refineries (EPZ) Ltd was to compensate 25 per cent of the money for being the direct source of the poison, Penguin Paper and Book Company will meet five percent for leasing out its land to the factory.

“This is a clear case of the public observing the rule of law even on their death bed while state agencies conspire to deny them Justice even to their death,” it said.

“We express our utmost displeasure at this move by the court of appeal.”

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