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Nairobi water boss in court to block suit

The managing director of Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company has moved to court seeking to stop his prosecution over alleged discharge of raw sewage into Nairobi River.

Mr Phillip Gichuki moved to court seeking a conservatory order staying proceedings at the Kibera court where he has been charged with discharging effluent into the aquatic environment.

Mr Gichuki has been charged alongside Mr Malakwen Milgo, the chief executive officer of Tana Athi Services Board.

The two also face another charge of failing to exercise due diligence, efficiency and economy to ensure compliance.

The MD, who has named the chief magistrate’s court Kibera, Director of Public Prosecutions and NEMA as respondents in the case, is seeking the orders pending hearing and determination of the petition.

Mr Gichuki claims the violation of his constitutional rights will be complete and almost beyond remedy once plea is taken.

The MD argues that NEMA’s decision to prosecute him is an unjustified threat to his rights under the constitution.

Mr Gichuki, in his petition, says they were not served with any compliance notice or restoration order pursuant to the Environmental Management and Cordination Act.

Mr Gichuki says the charge sheet is defective and that NEMA has no authority to commence criminal proceedings by virtue of the provisions of Article 157 (6) of the constitution.

The MD states in his petition that on April 10 this year the Nairobi Trunk Sewer constructed in 1975 collapsed 500 metres upstream at the intersection of the Nairobi River and Njiru-Mwiki road.

He further adds that the trunk sewer is the property of Athi Water Services Board and that NWSC is a licensee of the board.

Mr Gichuki claims that on May 3 this year, the board instructed NCWSC to undertake repairs of the collapsed sewer line.

The MD is also seeking a declaration that the commencement of the proceedings at Kibera court against him and the interested party is a violation of his rights under the constitution.

The court has directed the petitioner to serve NEMA with suit papers and the case will be mentioned on Friday.