Kenya Pipeline Company lawsuit (re explosion & fire in Nairobi)

Nairobi slum, By: Colin Crawley, Creative CommonsOn 12 September 2011, a spillage occurred from a pipeline owned by Kenya Pipeline Company, running through the slum of Mukuru-Sinai, in an industrial area of Nairobi.  As slum dwellers went to collect the fuel that was spilling, the pipeline exploded.  A fire broke out in the Sinai area. The explosion and the fire together killed about 120 people and injured hundreds.

In May 2012, more than 300 victims brought a lawsuit against, among others, Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Power and Lighting Company, the City Council of Nairobi, and the National Environment Management Authority.  They claim that the defendants acted negligently in constructing an oil pipeline in the middle of the slum, without putting adequate fire equipment in place, and failed to uphold their statutory duties.  The plaintiffs are seeking over KSh25 billion (worth about US$300 million at the time) in compensation.  The defendants argue that they do not bear direct responsibility for the fire and that the victims have failed to show the defendants have breached their duties under the law.  They asked to be removed from the lawsuit and made an application to the High Court in this regard in November 2012.  In February 2014, hearings commenced in the High Court and the first witnesses testified.  The proceedings are on-going.

- “Nairobi Senator Sonko finally testifies in Sinai fire tragedy case”, Kurian Musa, Standard Media (Kenya), 14 Feb 2014
- “State negligence caused Sinai tragedy, court told”, Vincent Agoya, Daily Nation (Kenya), 13 Feb 2014
- “Sinai slum fire victims anxious over delay in compensation hearing”, Vincent Agoya, Daily Nation (Kenya), 23 Oct 2013
- “City council wants out of Sinai suit”, Alphonce Mungahu, Star (Kenya), 6 Nov 2012
-  “Three seek to be excluded from Sh25bn Sinai fire case”, Daily Nation (Kenya), 5 Nov 2012
- “Sonko has 300 Sinai fire witnesses in Sh25 billion suit”, Alphonce Mungahu, Star (Kenya), 3 Nov 2012
- “Victims of Sinai fire seek compensation”, Isaiah Lucheli, Standard Digital (Kenya), 10 May 2012
- “What government and KPC should do to avert future tragedies in the wake of Mukuru-Sinai slum disaster”, Wambui Kimathi & Louiza Kabiru, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, in Business Daily (Kenya),16 Sept 2011
- Kenya Pipeline Company: Press statement, 12 Sep 2011

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28 January 2015

Kenya: Doctor tells court survivors of oil spill fire need advanced corrective surgery to live normally

Author: Vincent Agoya, Daily Nation (Kenya)

"Sinai fire victims still need support, doctor tells court"

The survivors of the 2011 Sinai slum fire tragedy in Nairobi, which killed more than 100 people, need advanced corrective surgery, which is unavailable locally.

A doctor who treated them told a trial court on Tuesday that the survivors have scars in “special places”, such as in the reproductive organs, buttocks and joints that “hinder normal daily activity”...“We live in a country in which if you suffer burns you have to continue living with your scars, which ultimately hinder your normal day-to-day activities,” the doctor said.

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Article
27 January 2015

Kenya: Survivors of fire tragedy that killed over 100 tell court Kenya Pipeline Company never warned them of danger of underground oil pipes

Author: Vincent Ogoya, Daily Nation (Kenya)

Survivors of the 2011 fire tragedy at Sinai slums in Nairobi have claimed that the Kenya Pipeline Company had not served them with any eviction notice before the tragedy happened...

The victims said they had occupied the land for twenty years before the fire broke out and shattered their sources of livelihood besides claiming the lives of their loved ones, but had never heard it belonged to KPC. “If they would have told us we were living next to danger we would have vacated,” Ms Rebecca Ndeta, one of the victims, said.

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Article
14 February 2014

Nairobi Senator Sonko finally testifies in Sinai fire tragedy case [Kenya]

Author: Kurian Musa, Standard Digital (Kenya)

Nairobi Senator Gideon Mbuvi alias Sonko has testified in a case in which Sinai fire victims are seeking compensation from the Government…Mbuvi appeared before Justice David Majanja to give his witness account of [the] September 12, 2011 fire tragedy that killed about 100 people and left a similar number injured…In the case, Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC) [Kenya Pipeline Company] is accused of negligence and disregarding the welfare of victims by constructing an oil pipeline in the middle of a residential area…KPC…is accused of not putting firefighting facilities in place and ignoring the danger it posed to the inhabitants...Mbuvi accused the Government of being negligent…He said [the] Government ought to have dug trenches and ensured that the oil pipeline that passes through the slum was well maintained…The Nairobi senator also blamed the now-defunct Nairobi City Council for failing to construct roads, supply water and/or any infrastructure, making the area inaccessible…

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Article
13 February 2014

State negligence caused Sinai tragedy, court told [Kenya]

Author: Vincent Agoya, Daily Nation (Kenya)

Failure to repair a gadget worth Sh1000 at a Kenya Pipeline plant in Nairobi cost the lives of hundreds of slum dwellers in the Sinai fire tragedy in 2011, a court was told Thursday…[Senator Sonko] was testifying at the High Court in the case seeking…damages for the 109 lives lost, hundreds of businesses destroyed and dozens of families displaced and rendered destitute, and those injured…“Perhaps if there had been alternative piping and good accessibility…the Kenyans who lost their lives would be alive today,”...“The [taskforce] report says that Kenya Pipeline had failed to respond to replace a gasket…and that State engineers had failed to repair the fault in time, and this is what caused the fire,”…The judge directed that the report be given to the [State’s] counsel…before the case resumes…

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Article
23 October 2013

Sinai slum fire victims anxious over delay in compensation hearing [Kenya]

Author: Vincent Agoya, Daily Nation (Kenya)

Survivors of the Nairobi's Sinai slum fire are anxious over the delayed hearing of a compensation case they lodged…They said the case has not been able to take off despite filing all the necessary documents, thanks to a series of adjournments…More than a hundred people died in the slum fire on September 12, 2011 following an oil spill from the Kenya Pipeline Corporation pipes…The survivors were rallied by then Makadara MP Gideon Mbuvi, now Nairobi Senator, to seek compensation for damages…Lawyer Evans Ondieki told justice David Majanja they wanted the case heard expeditiously…Over 300 residents…have sworn affidavits stating how they have resided in the area for over 40 years and were victims of negligence by companies which do not want to follow industrial and NEMA laws…Those sued include the Attorney General, Nairobi City County, Kenya Pipeline Company Limited (KPC), National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the Kenya Railways Corporation (KR).

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Article
6 November 2012

City council wants out of Sinai suit [Kenya]

Author: Alphonce Mungahu, Star (Kenya)

The City Council of Nairobi wants to be removed from a suit filed by victims of Sinai fire seeking more than Sh25 billion compensation. Kenya Power and National Environment Management Authority want out too. The three told justice David Majanja that they were wrongfully enjoined in the suit...The Attorney General is listed as first respondent followed by the Interim Independent Electrol Commission, City Council of Nairobi, Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Power and Lighting Company and Nema. Sonko says the fire outbreaks were caused by the collective negligence of the respondents...The MP said despite initial admission by the government to compensate the Sinai fire victims and slum dwellers, the respondents have ignored his plea for such compensation...

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Article
5 November 2012

Three seek to be excluded from Sh25bn Sinai fire case [Kenya]

Author: Daily Nation (Kenya)

Three institutions want to be excluded from a case in which fire tragedy victims are seeking compensation for damages. The National Environment Management Authority (Nema), Kenya Power Company (KPC) and Nairobi City Council of Nairobi...told the High Court that they did not bear direct responsibility for the Sinai fire tragedy and should therefore be removed from the proceedings...Nema [said] there was no connection between its mandate stipulated under the Environmental Management and Coordination Act and the claims made against it by the victims...KPC...argued that the victims had failed to show any breach by the power company on its responsibilities...The City Council...said it did not have any property interest on the land occupied by the victims since the land belonged to the Kenya Pipeline Company...

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Article
3 November 2012

Sonko has 300 Sinai fire witnesses in Sh25 billion suit [Kenya]

Author: Alphonce Mungahu, Star (Kenya)

Makadara MP Mike Sonko has lined up more than 300 survivors of the Sinai fire to testify in a suit seeking more than Sh25 billion from the government as compensation…Most of them received serious burns in the fire incident…In his petition, Sonko listed the Attorney General as first respondent. Other respondents are the Interim Independent Electoral Commission, the City Council of Nairobi, Kenya Pipeline Company and the National Environmental Management Authority.

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Article
10 May 2012

Victims of Sinai fire seek compensation [Kenya]

Author: Isaiah Lucheli, Standard [Kenya]

Victims of the Sinai fire tragedy have moved to court seeking compensation from Kenya Pipeline Company...and the City Council of Nairobi. The 102 people affected by the disaster, including minors...have...accused [the defendants] of being negligent and failing to uphold their statutory duties. The people are seeking damages for loss of assets, income and general damages...general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenities...In addition, the people want the organisations to be declared liable to compensate them for the loss and damage suffered as a result of the fire. KPC has been accused of failing to store highly flammable material within their premises in a proper way and allowing the fuel to spill into areas inhabited by the people.

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Article
16 September 2011

What government and KPC should do to avert future tragedies in the wake of Mukuru-Sinai slum disaster [Kenya]

Author: Wambui Kimathi & Louiza Kabiru, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, in Business Daily (Kenya)

[In] the Mukuru-Sinai slum fir tragedy in which 95 people have so far died and 160 others hospitalised in a fire tragedy that occurred after an oil spillage from the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) infrastructure at the slum… The UN principles most importantly provided the government, enterprises and rights holders guidelines to ensure that constitutional guarantees placed on businesses in relation to the Bill of Rights are implemented… These guarantees mean that KPC and other relevant government agencies could be held accountable for human rights violations as a result of the oil spillage… The company’s responsibility to respect human rights after this tragedy is twofold. First, KPC urgently should conduct a human rights impact assessment to help it identify the full impact of the tragedy…Secondly…the company should proactively relocate all people living within the 30-metre barrier along its 896km stretch of the pipeline…

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