A wealthy businessman in Nyeri is about to finish a gas plant stationed homesteads even after his other similar project backfired and left two people dead.
Linus Gitonga, the former director of petroleum at Energy Regulatory Commission is said to be behind the projected which is putting lives at risk and authorities have turned a blind eye.
The LPG plant project under company identified as Depar Limited is being built at Wambugu farm which is about 50 metres from the main road and homesteads.
In January 2012, Gitong’as similar plant at Giakanja exploded killing two people and seriously injuring seven others.
It is unclear how he was okayed to proceed with the current project which residents fear is a tragedy in the offing if it is allowed to go to completion.
It has been sanctioned by NEMA and Nyeri County government without public participation of the would be affected residents.
Word on the ground has it that money changed hands in the corridors of the county to key it the nod to go on. A CeC reportedly pocketed Sh300, 000 and the Governor’s office Sh700, 000 to turn a blind eye.
“Yes I have a disturbing issue concerning the gas plant just across our homestead at wambugu farm, ain’t against any development but this has a Hazard attached to it and the environment.Now my question goes to NEMA why did you have to waste time coming to ask whether we approve the construction or not,then when we disagreed I wonder who agreed on our behalf” Collins Gidraf a resident lamented.
Wachira, a resident claimed people were bribed and public participation was done in a church just next to the plant.
“Memories are still fresh in our memories. Such balls of fire are the only sights I had watched in movies. I could see the flames 400metres away from the burning fire.” A who witnessed the other tragedy lamented.
They are now worried who will come to their aid because the area leadership and mandated government bodies have been compromised.
They insist their concerns should not be mistaken as if they are fighting investors.
“We are not against investors as this will create jobs to our people and revenue to our county but our safety must come first. Nothing should override this. To me the credibility of NEMA is now lacking. This is a clear indication that either someone is sleeping in his job or was absolutely compromised but we cannot allow this nonetheless. ” a local stated.