Alarm has been raised over possible loss of over Kshs.12billion of taxpayers’ money from the Kshs.18billion allocated as reparations for compulsory land acquisition and loss of business during construction of the Kshs.60billion Nairobi Expressway.
It is suspected that unscrupulous investors working in cahoots with senior officers drawn from the National Treasury, National Land Commission (NLC) and the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) are orchestrating the scam, even as the two institutions engage in a blame and counter-blame over the controversy.
Details have emerged that already, Kshs.8billion in irregular claims have been sanctioned, compensation award approved and money allocated, despite parcels in question either belonging to government or forming part of the encroached road reserve. The transactions were made between January 11 and May 25, 2021 with an outstanding balance of Kshs.13, 558,735,963 to 133 beneficiaries.
It is feared that an additional Kshs.4billion said to be exaggerated payments may already be lost as documents indicate it has already been paid out to claimants. KeNHA has so far remitted Kshs.4, 457,577,844 to NLC for onward payout.
Details revealed that Kshs.2.01billion was paid to compulsorily acquire a piece of public land between the City Cabanas area and Southern bypass along the Mombasa Road to pave way for the construction of the Expressway.
Appearing before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC), KeNHA Director-General Eng. Peter Mundinia disowned the irregular claims. “At no time did we surrender the land to someone. The land is part and parcel of the buffer zone. These parcels were actually road reserve land,” he told the committee chaired by Ugunja legislator Opiyo Wandayi.
Between City Cabanas and Southern bypass, a total of Kshs.5.84billion will be spent as reimbursements to Project Affected Persons (PAP). Documents revealed that a total of 32 persons and entities have titles laying claim to the land. Some have been fully compensated, others partially compensated.
KeNHA is accusing NLC of acquiring land and recommending compensation despite being notified that it was part and parcel of road reserves and had never been surrendered to private individuals. KENHA further said it provided NLC with the acquisition plan that it was required to work within and decide which land to be acquired. Among the affected properties is the iconic City Cabanas.
The controversy, pitting NLC against KeNHA has undertones of the corruption scandal which erupted over the construction of the SGR, that saw the Commission Chairman and other senior officials hauled before courts by anti-graft agencies.