A multi-billion-shilling sweets factory in Kilifi county is in disarray after the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) stopped its construction.
NEMA had earlier approved the construction of the sweet processing firm but made the the sudden change when the project was 80% complete.
Mzuri Sweets Limited located at Kwa Kadzengo along the Mombasa-Malindi highway was set to employ more than 1,000 people upon its completion.
The projected is valued at Sh2 billion, located next to a wetland, had also obtained approvals to backfill the wetland and create an artificial one which would be a recreational park.
NEMA had had an initial agreement with the investors to control flooding in the area.
But on Tuesday last week, NEMA board chairman John Konchella, together with his team, ordered the construction work to stop immediately after the assessment of the factory showed that it had encroached 30% of the reparian land.
“The backfilling of the wetland on land number LR531 had continued despite the developer being issued with an order stopping the activity on April 15, 2020; this is an activity already violating an order issued,” said Konchella.
Konchella further ordered the investor to restore the backfilled section of the wetland to its original state within 30 days.
“Environmental inspectors in liaison with Water Resource Authority, Kenya National Highways Authority, county surveyor, and the county government of Kilifi shall undertake pegging of the wetland and the road reserve to inform the extent of encroachment of the building,” he ordered.
Mzuri Sweets Ltd was also to produce cakes and would have required between 200,000 and 400,000 eggs daily from the local community.
This is the second multi-billion-shilling project in Kilifi to suffer a blow in a span of one year after the environmental authority declined to approve the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report of Palm Exotja, a Sh23 billion luxury hotel and residential facility in Watamu.