• Company says it settled 266 claims worth Sh 31 million for livestock and crop losses
• State firm rejects 2,175 claims which acting MD says are either duplicate or fraudulent.
Hopes of victims of a 2015 oil spill in Makueni getting justice dimmed after Kenya Pipeline Company said it was unable to verify medical claims.
KPC acting managing director Hudson Andambi said health related claims made by residents could not be determined, hence their indecision to pay four years since the spillage.
Andambi however said the company through its insurer has settled 266 claims worth Sh 31 million in respect to livestock and crop losses.
KPC at the same time rejected 2,175 claims which the acting MD said were either duplicate or fraudulent.
The acting MD further said the company is holding some 491 claims which he noted will be processed immediately the claimants supply the insurer with all the required supporting documents.
“What became difficult was verifying claims relating to personal injury. It is not very easy to tell claims of those who are said to have suffered ill health as a result of the spillage. The insurer requires strict proof of medical injury and hence the isolation of this category,” Andambi said.
“The claimants have failed to provide details of treatment and expenses incurred in relation to the same. The forms filled do not contain sufficient details and proof to enable an assessment for payment.”
This means the 1,182 residents who filed medical claims will have to wait longer to get compensation for the various injuries allegedly suffered.
Andambi appeared before National Assembly’s Environment committee chaired by Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki to respond to questions raised by Jessica Mbalu (Kibwezi East) on the mitigation measures taken since the spillage and the compensation status.
Mbalu disputed the KPC’s claims of compensation, saying the majority of locals were forced into signing compensation forms they did not know anything about.
She said most victims received peanuts despite losing their crops and livestock as a result of the spill.
“What criteria did you use to arrive at the compensation figures because some people received as low as Sh 30,000? Your insurer was forcing people to sign. Did you sensitise the people on what they were signing?” posed Mbalu whose constituency was hardest hit by the oil spillage.
In 2015, a massive oil leak from a pipeline managed by KPC was detected at Kibwezi East sub-county along the length of Thange River. The pipeline was believed to have leaked its contents for months undetected.
Agricultural officers warned the locals against consuming or selling their farm produce fearing possible poisoning.