BLATANT DISREGARD: Workers at the JKIA building the offending wall against NET ruling
Swissport Kenya, an international cargo handling firm based at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has ignored National Environment Tribunal (NET) ruling and proceeded with the construction of a perimeter wall opposed by its’ neighbor Transglobal Cargo Centre (TCC).
Reports indicate that the contractors of Swissport took advantage of the long Easter weekend to proceed with a development which had been stopped by NET as per petition number 175 of 2015 jointly lodged by Cofek and its’ corporate member TCC.
Before then, Swissport Kenya through its CEO Mr Jeroen de Clercq had on January 18, 2017 written to TCC requesting for an out of court of settlement.
“I refer to the above case between Cofek and Transglobal vs Nema and Swissport. In consideration of the ruling of 16th December 2016 and the recommendation of the Tribunal to seek an out of court solution by the principal parties, we wish to propose for a meeting between your structural engineers and ours.
“The aim of the proposed meeting is for your experts to discuss the dispute around the perceived structural impact on Transglobal’s building in a bid to arrive at an amicable resolution.
“I trust that you will consider the request positively as we await to hear from you. Feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss the matter further”, concluded Mr de Clercq then.
Following the Swissport request, a meeting of all parties was held at Swissport lawyers' Coulson & Harney Riverside Drive offices. A second one was in the offing as a suitable date was being agreed upon.
It, therefore, beats all logic for a firm of Swissport repute and stature to have duped the parties with an “out of court of settlement request” only to turn around and disrespect the NET ruling as well as we the arbitration process.
It would appear Swissport is keen to have "status quo" of the development be complete as opposed to the initial stage it had been halted.
In the circumstances, Cofek strongly feels Swissport is in contempt and disregard of the law. Swissport has clearly shown that it can no longer be trusted on its intention of an out-of-court settlement.
Following the development, Cofek has already contacted the NET and requested the Tribunal to caution the offending parties.
“We are writing to NET asking that Swissport is cited for contempt and disregard for the law. We would be praying that NET orders for demolition of the offending perimeter wall at its’ own expense”, said Ms Jecinta Mulongo, Cofek Program Officer.
"It is not fair at all that while Kenyans embrace foreign investors, they must respect the laws of the land. Swissport Kenya cannot be an exception. This blatant disregard of the an active Tribunal ruling cannot go unchallenged", she added
The dispute follows the prayers sought by Cofek from NET, in 2015, to declare the construction on the basis of a stale Environment Impact Assessment report and the adverse implication of the high perimeter wall on the existing TCC building.