Officials demanded bribe from Amu power to support coal project, claims Kanyiri

Linda Boni operation director Joseph Kanyiri at his office. PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: Lamu county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri has accused individuals who are opposed to the Sh.200 billion coal plant in Lamu of corruption.

Kanyiri said all those who are opposed to the project are individuals who demanded bribes from the project owners Amu Power company in order to offer their support for the project; but got frustrated when the firm refused to give in to their demands.

The coal plant is to be set up at Kwasasi area of Hindi division in Lamu west sub county.

Speaking in his office on Monday, Kanyiri said certain individuals had been heavily paid by the forces  in order to frustrate the project for no apparent reason.

He said his office was aware that some individuals had paid secret visits to the implementers of the project seeking to be bribed in return for the support of the project but that their plans had backfired and as such the said individuals were very bitter and had vowed to frustrate the project.

The county commissioner said he was also aware that some of the activists groups claiming to oppose the project on behalf of the community have in fact been sponsored by foreign bodies to frustrate the project.

He said the government would not go back on its plans to have the coal plant project established in the county and insisted that the project had been gone through numerous tests and had been proven to be safe and full of economic benefits for both Lamu and Kenya as a country.

The commissioner said those opposed to the project are in fact enemies of development in Lamu and urged locals not to listen to people who are trying to politicize the matter.

He assured locals whose lands have been acquired for the project that they would be adequately compensated.

“This a project between the investor and the government of Kenya and its being conducted according to all stipulated laws. There is enough research that this isn’t the first project of its kind in the world. Such projects are in America,China,India Australia and Germany. We understand that some individuals here including activists have been paid to oppose the project. We even know some went as far as asking for bribes in order to support the project but their plans didn’t push through,”said Kanyiri.

He also denied allegations that the investor had not consulted the affected residents and said over 60 meetings have been held so far between the investor,locals and the government representatives.

In reaction,the Save Lamu Organization chair which has shown fierce commitment in opposing the project Mohamed Abubakar denied the commissioner’s claims that the organization had been paid to frustrate the project and insisted that the project is harmful to the health of locals and the environment and shouldn’t be allowed.

“Those are baseless allegations and pure lies.we haven’t been paid neither are we funded by anyone to do what we are doing.All we know is that the project is harmful period.That will remains our stand and we have vowed never to allow it take off here,” said Abubakar.

The project is expected to generate about 1,050 megawatts of power once complete.