The tussle for compensation of land owners at the Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has taken a new twist after it emerged that the National Land Commission (NLC) is withholding over Ksh17.7 billion meant for compensation.
In a court case filed by Kenya Railways, the institution says that the Mohammed Swazuri-led team is maliciously holding the money despite having received it from the national treasury.
“The respondent has between October 26, 2018, and now received from the National Treasury the sum of Ksh17.7 billion to remit to the 1,090 affected persons and/or the landowners whose parcels of land was acquired compulsorily but the respondent has failed to compensate affected persons,” reads the suit the Kenya Railways filed.
Kenya Railways wants the court to order the NLC to release the cash to avert a further delay in the multi-billion-shilling project.
This means that construction of the 120 kilometre SGR line is now unlikely to be completed by the May deadline.
Some of the affected sections are Rongai station to Ngong station, the Nairobi National park to Rongai Station and Ngong Station to Mai Mahiu station.
Last year, NLC issued a gazette notice halting compensation of 1,674 parcels of land between Syokimau and Mai Mahiu estimated at 2,544 acres, claiming that their value had been inflated.
However, previous reports indicated that there is a syndicated cartel within NLC forcing land owners to part with bribes so that their compensations are expedited.
The commission is yet to respond to the allegations, despite the reports having implicated the chairman Mohammed Swazuri.
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