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Senate to probe Sh11bn compensation delay

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By ERIC WAINAINA
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The Senate will investigate the delay in the release of nearly Sh11 billion meant for the compensation of the owners of more than 4,000 properties to be demolished for the construction of the James Gichuru Junction-Rironi Road.

The project is part of the expansion of the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

Once the House resumes its sittings next year, the Transport and Infrastructure Committee will establish why there has been an over one-year delay in paying for the affected properties.

Payment for the properties, which include commercial and residential houses, schools, churches and businesses, was to be done in December last year after a valuation by the National Land Commission (NLC).

Committee chairman Kimani Wamatangi said the Senate had received a petition from the affected property owners and it was being processed for hearing.

The committee, the Kiambu Senator said, would summon the Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Treasury and NLC officials to shed light on the undue delay.

“We have received a petition from those affected by the project and they are being processed for hearing by the committee, and we will be inviting the minister and any other interested parties to give answers regarding the delay,” Mr Wamatangi said on Sunday.

The delay, he said, is a matter of concern since most Kenyans have had to wait for long to get compensation for their land being utilised for development, causing those affected immense damage.

For the James Gichuru Junction-Rironi project, which is 26 kilometres long, KeNHA marked the affected properties for demolition between September and November last year, leading to a mass exodus of tenants.

One of the affected people is Mr Francis Kahura, who borrowed Sh234 million between 2010 and 2012, put up four blocks of flats at Zambezi and Regen, all of which were marked for demolition.

Following the delayed payment and exit of tenants, he had been unable to service the loan and early this month, his bank sent him a warning that the properties would be auctioned to recover the loan.

NLC vice-chairperson Abigail Mbagaya said KeNHA is to blame for the delay, while its director-general, Mr Peter Mundinia, said the Treasury is yet to release the full amount.

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