Mombasa governor Ali Hassan Joho and business mogul Kiprop ‘Buzeki’ Bundotich’s firms are among 27 firms illegally allocated Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) 900 acre-land in Machakos.
The land, acquired from East Africa Portland Cement for the development of a bulk cargo handling and transshipment facilities in Athi River, cost KRC at least Ksh1.2 billion, but was transferred almost immediately to the firms.
Joho’s Autoport Freight Terminal Ltd was allocated 50 acres, as well as Mohammed Jaffer’s Grain Bulk Handlers Ltd (GBHL). Buzeki Enterprises, which is owned by Bundotich, was allocated 20 acres. Yussuf Abdiwahab Ali’s Aya Traders Company Ltd was also allocated 40 acres.
“Kenya Railways handed over the first 50 acres to GBHL in the month of January 2019 and currently construction is ongoing as the client has taken over the site. Completion is expected by January 2020,” a KRC document read as quoted by the Star.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has already launched investigations into the possible fraud, with key players, including top KRC staff,being summoned for grilling at Integrity Centre.
EACC is looking into reports of lack of transparency in the allocation of the land, as well as bribery claims that could see senior officials roped in.
Other firms allocated land include Prime Bridge Group Ltd owned by Crispus Makau Kiamba and Tom Obonyo Ouma Kadoyo, who got 40 acres, MIT Logistics Ltd (40 acres), Company Freight Systems Ltd (40 acres), South Shore International Ltd (25 acres), Gutale Carho Handlers (20 acres) and Freight Fowarders Kenya Ltd (10 acres).
However, KRC acting managing director Philip Mainga denied claims that they had allocated any land to the said firms.
“We are aware but we have not allocated land. I better tell you the truth,” said Mainga.
However, internal documents quoted by the Star show that KRC leased the land at a “discounted market rate” of Ksh20 million per acre and an annual rent of Ksh1 million.
The cost of leasing land around Athi River is estimated at between Ksh22 million and Ksh26 million.