Manji sues govt over Dar prime beach plot Monday, 21 February 2011 23:32 By Bernard James The Citizen Reporter Dar es Salaam. Two years since the government permanently banned the sale or leasing of the famous Coco Beach shore strip, a city-based businessman, Mr Yusuf Manji, is fiercely battling to repossess the public beach on grounds that in 2007 he was awarded a tender to develop it.The Citizen has established that Kinondoni municipality had given Mr Manji a 35-year leasehold of the property through his private firm Q-Consult Limited (QCL). He has now instituted a suit against the local authority, which, on the order of Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, terminated the agreement for development of the beach area. Speaking to councillors from the three municipalities of Dar es Salaam in May 2008, the Prime Minister ordered the Kinondoni municipality to cancel the deal for development of Oysterbay waterfront in public interest. Investment in the project was put at approximately $30 million (about Sh43.5 billion). Tell the developer that should he continue with construction, once he has erected structures the people will pull them down, Mr Pinda stated then. Regardless of the Prime Ministers directive, Mr Manji is pressing either to repossess the area or be compensated billions of shillings for what he describes as unlawful termination of the contract. In his bid to seek redress, Mr Manji has secured a temporary order of the High Court restraining the municipal council from receiving bids or entering into any deal for development of the waterfront, pending hearing and determination of the suit. The Kinondoni Municipal Council had apparently concluded an agreement with QCL for development of Oysterbay waterfront by designing, building and operating the property. The area is one of a few remaining public beaches in Dar es Salaam. According to available details, QCL was leased approximately 21.6 hectares of the beach stretching from Kenyatta Drive up to the outer edge of the police officers mess compound on Toure Drive. The area is demarcated in four zones within the coral cliffs, the sand beach, the park and the hilltop ledge, which cover about seven hectares described as a master plan that will provide for a built environment and a place for communal recreation. But as Mr Manji tries to pull out all the stops to regain the property, many questions arise around the process and procedures followed to acquire prime rate sites in the city. They often smack of corruption. Some observers query how the local authority could, through its councillors, approve the proposed project before an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was undertaken as the law requires. Section 81 (1) of the National Environment Management Act, 2004, requires that developers of a project near water resources must first carry out an environmental impact assessment before commencement of such a project. But Kinondoni municipality approved the project in December 2007 without environmental assessment. Though QCL blames the Kinondoni authority for delaying the project through non-approval of the environmental impact assessment it carried out for the vemnture, The Citizen on Saturday confirmed that the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) had not registered the study as the law requires. The NEMC Act also stipulates that no permit or licence for carrying out such a project shall be given to a developer without first obtaining an EIA certificate, failure of which is an offence. According to the agreement between QCL and the municipality, Mr Manji was required to produce an EIA study within four months of signing the contract. He assigned a Costa Rican firm, Futuris Consulting S.A, to conduct an EIA, which it concluded with recommendations over sustainability of the project. But NEMCs director of education, information and communication, Ms Anna Maembe told The Citizen that her office has never registered such a project for its own assessment or review as the law requires. The first step before thinking of developing such a project is to register the project for EIA with us, then from the word go we can reject the project or consultants registered with us for EIA, Ms Maembe said. Another nagging question over the marriage between Kinondoni municipality and QCL is the fact that the law restricts the waterfront for any development. The law is very categorical that there should not be any development of beach area within 60 metres from high water tide. It does not require a quantity surveyor to note that there is no area for any development 60 metres from the shoreline of Coco Beach, Ms Maeda added. According to fiscal terms of the Coco beach project, Mr Manji would pay $ 300,000 (about Sh435 million) in royalty to Kinondoni Municipal Council annually or five per cent of revenue whichever is higher from the first year of operation. Kinondoni Municipal deputy mayor Julian Bujugo and the municipal director, Mr Noel Mahyenga, initialled the project while S. Sampathkumar and B.N Arvind signed the agreement on behalf of QCL. Proposed structures to be built as part of the project master plan include an arrival centre, chalets, marina, amusement park, car park, aquarium, marine park, botanical garden, childrens park, deep-water diving facilities, bird and butterfly sanctuary, restaurants and bars, recreational places and services. Other attractions would be a telescopic tower, picnic spots, handcraft stalls, youth and health centre, sports ground, water sports, jetty, shark protection fence, mobile kiosks and childrens games. In addition, the park would have a jogging track, horse riding, food stalls, aerobics ground and an open-air theatre. Last week the Kinondoni Municipal Council announced termination of the contract saying land use for the area has changed. According to the councils information office, current developments have made it impossible for the project to continue.