When it rains it pours, this is arguably the best statement that can sum up the situation Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has found himself in the past few weeks after he threatened to sever links with the national government over the county take over.
In the latest development, Kahawa Tungu has learnt that the governor is on the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) radar over the acquisition of Upper Hill property belonging to Kenya Railways’ pensioners.
EACC flagged the transaction with detectives handling the matter saying the land was undervalued.
The commission is also investigating the source of the Ksh144.6 million that Sonko, through Primix Enterprises Ltd, has so far paid out of the Ksh498.5 million purchase price.
As investigations continue, the management of Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme (KRSRBS) has defended the sale, saying everything was done in an open way with the due process followed to the letter.
Commenting on the agreement, KRSRBS acting CEO, Victoria Mulwa, told Nation that the agreement was signed in 2019 after two open tenders were announced on newspapers in 2017 and another in 2018.
“This sale was above board…one was an international tender. All were non-responsive. The third open tender that was advertised in late 2018 led to this sale. The sale agreements were signed in 2019, ” Mulwa said.
“The scheme is bound by PPDA (Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act), hence the disposal through open tender. There was no irregularity.”
In documents seen by Kahawa Tungu, the firm associated with the Nairobi county boss entered into an agreement with registered trustees of the Kenya Railways Staff Benefit Scheme on April 30, 2019, on the sale of two subplots measuring 0.3001 hectares and 0.2025 hectares from the land, LR 209/6507, on Matumbato Road, Upper Hill.
For the 0.3001 hectares, the purchase price was KSh298 million while the second subplot was being sold at Sh200.5 million.
The two trustees who signed the document are; Anthony Israel Lubayi and Anthony Wambua Kilavi.
In the first plot, the buyer paid a deposit of Ksh18 million and was expected to pay another Ksh40 million seven days after the execution of the agreement.
The agreement required the buyer to pay the balance within 90 days of the execution of the agreement. Similar terms applied in the sale of the second plot.
This meant that the buyer, as per the agreement, was expected to clear the balance by July 2019 but this is yet to happen to nearly a year later.
Mulwa said the slow pace was as a result of the delay in getting approvals from Nairobi City County for subdivision of the land. She says the approval was granted in April this year.
“It was expected that the balance of the purchase price would be paid after the subdivision and upon obtaining the completion documents. That’s what parties have been pursuing. The next steps are approval of deed plans by survey of Kenya and issuance of title by Ministry of Lands,” she said.
Another key concern that EACC is seeking answers to is a separation by declarations made by Caroline Nyororo and Salome Munubi, estate managers of KRSRBS and Kenya Railways Corporation respectively, that the certificate of title of LR 209/6507 had been lost or misplaced.
In the declarations made between May 28, 2007, and March 11, 2008, the individuals were asking the registrar of titles for a provisional certificate of titles raising eyebrows on what caused the disappearance and why the multiple declarations for the same title.
The documents show that in 2009, the title was transferred to Rajkosmag Company Ltd, which is linked to activist-cum-businessman Rajab Magut for Ksh16.5 million.
The company paid Ksh660,000 to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) as stamp duty when they applied for registration of the title in their name.
James Kanyeki, a current trustee of the pension scheme, says he is not aware of the transaction.
“We have the Legal Notice number 169 of September 2006 that transferred the land to the scheme in 2006. I may not be aware of the alleged transfer,” said Kanyeki.
The alleged transfer of the piece of land followed the series of declarations of lost certificate title by officials of the railways’ pension scheme.
Sonko, who was last year charged with graft, has denied any irregularity in the transfer of the land and linked the investigations to his threat to end the Nairobi deed of transfer.
The KRSRBS acting CEO now says if EACC doesn’t expedite the investigations pensioners will not be able to get their dues unless the balance is paid.
“As a scheme that is going through dire financial issues, we are hoping that the investigations will be expedited so that we can move forward. The pensioners have not been paid for 11 months now and we depend on property sales for survival,” the CEO said.