A plastic bags manufacturer who suffered the brunt of the ban effected by the Ministry of Environment  and Natural resources last year is crying for justice and seeks  compensation  for losses incurred.

Hi-Plast says  the ban caused serious losses and that it is under financial  obligations that are hinged on its manufacturing of the banned commodity.

Watch the company’s lawyer, Eddy Orinda, speak to reporters in this video after he filed the case:

The company says in court documents that it would have been prudent for the respondents to allow it  “to at least engage in measures to mitigate its loses.”

“The petitioners loans were to be repaid solely based on  sales projection that were hinged on month on month output and sales of its products which are now deemed illegal ,” suit papers filed by Hi-Plast lawyer Eddy Orinda read.

Abetting other manufacturers

Hi-Plast has filed two suits, in the Judicial review and Commercial divisions of the high court.

An affidavit sworn by the company’s director Mahesh Dodhia states  that “the Ministry is abetting other manufacturers in continued production of plastic paper bags and that the ban seems to have been effected  to prop the businesses of friendly manufacturers and is this discriminatory and malicious.”

“Nothing would have been easier for the respondents to do a factory by factory audit to know what stock was being held by each stakeholder and draw a viable plan on how long it would have been reasonably possible to dispose off this stock without unduly ambushing the petitioner with the ban,” the affidavit further states.

Millions of shillings

The petitioner says that at the  time the Gazette Notice was published in March 2017 ” we were in the process  of shipping raw materials and had were they to be  involved in such police formation they would have made plans in mitigation of losses or refrained from making bulk raw material orders.

Hi-plast says it invested millions of shillings both in machinery and raw materials which had bee sourced prior to the ban and which had been projected to last for more than 8 months.

“As a stakeholder in the manufacturing business I was never consulted  or involved in the formulation of policy or even implementation of the ban prior to gazzetement.

Hi-Plast says that following the ban , it requested fro a meeting with authorities through KAM to raise its concerns about the ban and it resultant effect and after which the authorities committed to extend the effective  date of the ban but in a sudden turn-around announced the ban.

Ban illegal

The petitioner has attached copies of letters and proposals that were made in the respective meetings.

Hi-Plast also seeks an order declaring the ban illegal and unconstitutional.

KAM plastic sector in 2015 presented a proposal on waste management to the Ministry and NEMA which proposed among other things, the establishment of a waste management board levy to be charged on all plastic.

In further effort to tackle the plastic menace, the government and KAM  entered into an MoU on a joint implementation plan for sustainable management of plastic.

But, in an unforeseen  move on March 14 2017 through Gazette Notice No 2356 dated February 2017, the CS declared a ban  on the use , manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for household and commercial packaging which was to take effect six months from the date of the notice.

The case has been filed at the Milimani law courts and will be heard after the respondent parties are served.