A major row has hit the Sh75 billion Lake Turkana wind power project after a section of leaders said the site of the project is community land.
On Saturday, Laisamis leaders mainly drawn from the opposition Jubilee Alliance held a meeting where they resolved to move to court or petition the Marsabit County Assembly and the Senate to revoke the title deed acquired by Lake Turkana Wind Power Consortium.
The leaders under the umbrella of Laisamis Professionals and Leaders Forum alleged the consortium was irregularly leased the vast tract of land by a group of leaders in Marsabit County.
‘‘The area is community land and a group of few individuals irregularly allocated themselves the land and later leased it to the consortium,’’ alleged David Timado, the team leader of the group.
Mr Timado further alleged that the owners of the land had leased it for 99 years at a cost of Sh500 million.
The group, who included six MCAs from the Laisamis constituency, said they were not opposed to the mega project, but want the locals and the county government to be involved in the exercise. See Also: We are finally part of Kenya, say Mandera residents at fete
‘‘We want to categorically state that we want the project to go on, but at the same time demand that the locals should also benefit from it. The holders of the title deed are individuals and not the community,’’ claimed Timado.
At the Laisamis town meeting, the group who hired lawyers from Wangira Okoba and Company Advocates based in Nairobi collected signatures from residents as they prepare to go to court to revoke the title deed acquired by the consortium.
Wangira Okoba said they will file the case at the High Court in Nairobi in the course of the week.
However, Marsabit County Assembly Speaker Mathew Loltome, who was present during the meeting blamed the defunct County Council of Marsabit for allegedly sanctioning the sale of the land.
The proposed project is Africa’s largest wind farm and the single biggest investment by a private investor in the country.
Loltome said documents inherited by the county government from the defunct council show that the consortium paid an initial Sh30 million and an agreement was reached on leasing the land at the rate of Sh1.3 million annually.
‘‘It could be that they were ignorant or some of the councillors were compromised but from the records we have, the council is the one that sanctioned the land transaction,’’ said the official.
The consortium comprises KP and P Africa, Aldwych International, Industrial Development Corporation, IFU, Norfund and Wind Power Invest A S. In its project disclosure document, the group says; ‘‘The commercially financed Sh75 billion investment will produce power that will be purchased by the utility Kenya Power over a 25 year period. During the construction up to 900 jobs will be created followed by 150 full time jobs.”
According to the same document, the footprint of the wind farm will comprise 40,000 acres (162 sq km). Of this area, 365 wind turbines will occupy 23 acres, the switch yard will occupy about 40 acres and the village including workshop will sit on 25 acres.
It aims to provide 300 MW of reliable, low cost wind energy to the national grid, equivalent to over 20 per cent of the current installed electricity generating capacity.
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