Privatisation of Mombasa, Lamu ports halted

The High Court has suspended a decision by the state to lease some berths at the ports of Mombasa and Lamu County to private investors.

Justice Chacha Mwita said the order will be in place till December 6 when the court will issue further directions on the matter.

The case was filed by a group identifying themselves as the Taireni Association of Multimedia.

They have sued CS Treasury, CS Transport, the Attorney General and Kenya Ports Authority.

Justice Chacha Mwita directed that the pleadings be served immediately to the respondents and responses be filed within 3 days after service.

The government through the respondents had commenced the disposal of the berths at both Ports of Mombasa and Lamu through the tender offer dated November 17, 2023.

It is the implementation of this tender that has been suspended after the association argued that the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has no power under the law and constitution to dispose of any of the public assets.

The association told the court that the whole process is tainted with irregularities that should not be allowed to continue.

“We urge you to consider this application in the light of protecting public assets and the public capital investment from any plunder, whatsoever,” the association said.

According to the court documents, KPA has purported to dispose of the public assets held by it under the provisions of Section 4 of the Public Private Partnership Act, 2022, which Act, was not intended to be applicable for the disposing of public assets, rather to guide on the procedures of controlling and contracts between the government on projects which are undertaken and financed exclusively by private investors.

KPA has to date developed 3 ports which are fully functional in Mombasa, Kisumu and Lamu with asset base running into hundreds of billions.

These include lands, machinery, equipment and infrastructural developments.

It is estimated that the berths 16-18 at Container Terminal 2 of Mombasa Port cost the public Sh30 billion to construct and it is estimated that the Lamu berths, which were constructed recently could go up to Sh60 billion.

Source: The Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *