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KPA to appeal decision in Sh30b port terminal case

The Kenya Ports Authority is challenging a decision to outlaw legislation that allowed the Government to enter into an agreement with a shipping firm for the management of a Sh30 billion container terminal.

KPA’s lawyer Sanjeve Khagram filed the notice in court on Friday after a three-judge bench halted implementation of a memorandum of understanding between the State and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) to run the second container berth at the port.

On October 4, justices Erick Ogola, Alfred Mabeya and Mugure Thande declared that an amendment to Section 16 of the Merchant Shipping Act granting port management rights to MSC was unconstitutional.

KPA had argued that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case due to what it termed separation of powers. The agency claimed the court lacked jurisdiction to intrude in a matter that had been passed by the National Assembly.

But the judges said the amendment was illegal because the State had failed to follow the law.

“To this court, such a change in policy through legislation would have required robust debate in the National Assembly accompanied with effective and satisfactory public participation through a substantive, separate independent Bill,” the court ruled.

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The judges had issued their judgement after the Dock Workers Union, Taireni Association of Mijikenda and Muslims for Human Rights had sued the State for entering into the MoU with the shipping firm.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers had argued that privatisation of the container terminal would put jobs at risk.
Source: Standard Media

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