National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has shut down a posh hotel in Nanyuki for failing to acquire an effluent discharge certificate, a mandatory environmental license.
The hotel, which is located at the foothills of Mount Kenya, Nanyuki, moved to court seeking to bar the agency from arresting or preferring criminal charges against the hotel, its agents, or employees over the issue.
However, the hotel suffered a blow in court after Justice Mary Oundo ruled that the hotel had prematurely moved forward with the judicial review, subverting provisions of the Environment Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) and the Fair Administrative Action Act.Nema officers outside Hotel Boulevard in Nairobi on May 8, 2020.
Justice Oundo faulted the hotel for seeking to resolve in court rather than complying with the notice issued by NEMA.
Nema ordered the arrest and prosecution of the establishment's agent after it failed to comply with the notice.
Justice Oundo advised that the hotel should have sought to resolve the matter with the National Environment Tribunal which is tasked with hearing complaints regarding the issuance of licenses by NEMA.
"As it is to be noted by the provisions os Section 9 (2) of the Fair Administrative Action Act that this court is barred against exercising Judicial Review jurisdiction unless available statutory appeal and review mechanisms have been exhausted," Justice Ounda determined.
In its petition, the hotel alleged that Nema through its officers and police had harassed workers at the establishment on grounds that it had not acquired the required licenses.
The hotel's closure adds to a number of similar restrictions by NEMA over recent years in a bid to ensure compliance to set standards by hospitality institutions across the country.
For instance, on May 8, 2020, NEMA announced the closure of the Boulevard Hotel over reports of polluting Nairobi River.
NEMA requires that hotels and lodges undertake annual Environmental Audits to monitor compliance with the environmental management plan.
The agency requires all establishments that own a sewerage system to obtain an effluent discharge license from the authority as well as adhere to set standards and monitor the discharge.Mt Kenya.KWS
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