The High Court has allowed Kitengela International Schools to operate right opposite the London Distillers in Athi River, Machakos County, raising eyebrows.
In a case filed by the Distiller against the school, Erdermann Property Limited, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, Machakos County and the Attorney General, the company argued that allowing the school to be constructed near the distillery was contrary to the Alcoholic Drinks
Control Act, No 4 of 2010, section 12.
The school is located within Great Wall Gardens Housing Development Phase 1, developed by Erdermann properties.
Photos of the two facilities in our possession show that the school is close to the distillery’s wall immediately next to where the molasses storage tank and bio-digester is situated.
In such an environment, the distiller argued that students would be exposed to noise pollution emanating from trucks using the road to and from the factory.
The distiller also argued that the school could raise complaints in future against the factory, which has been in operation at the location since 1986. The distiller argued that this could cripple the operations of the factory, in case such complains are raised.
However, in his ruling, Justice George Odunga said the issue of the school being a step towards crippling the factory’s operations is “speculative” at this stage.
“It cannot be said that it is the natural sequel to the establishment of the said school in order for this court to find that by establishing its school, the 3rd Respondent intends to bring to a halt the operations of the petitioner,” ruled Justice Odunga.
“In my view a case has not arisen where the petitioner’s operations is threatened with stoppage. In other words, the issue of the stoppage of the petitioner’s operations cannot under the circumstances of this case be said to be justifiable,” he added.
The distiller said that they could not make any further investments to expand its plant, due to the presence of the school hence wanted it closed on grounds that the land it sits on was initially intended for industrial use.
The distiller and the school have been at loggerheads, with the latter accusing the former of polluting the environment and making environment unfavourable for the learners.
The distiller wanted the court to declare the establishment of the school within Great Wall Gardens Housing Development Phase 1 as unlawful and in contravention of the principles established under the Constitution, Children’s Act and the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act. The company also sought for a permanent injunction stopping enrollment of children to the school.
“Based on my findings hereinabove, it is no longer necessary for me to deal with the other issues which were raised by the 3rd and 4th Respondents in their submissions in opposition to the petition herein. Suffice it to say that this petition has no merit,” ruled Justice Odunga, throwing out the case.
Great Wall Gardens Housing was developed by Erdermann Property Limited, which is also the developer of Seefar Apartments, which are facing demolition for being developed on a riparian land.