Home General Blow for SGR landowners as state halts cash payout

Blow for SGR landowners as state halts cash payout

by kenya-tribune

Compensation for the second phase of SGR have been stopped to pave way for investigations.

DPP Noordin Haji made the revelations yesterday even as land owners engage authorities in unending blame game.

“SGR land compensation…I think we have agreed that we are going to start investigations immediately and we are writing to the various authorities to seize all payments until investigations are complete,”he said.

He was speaking during the handing over of Sh 2 billion parcel of land to University of Nairobi that was reclaimed from private company.

This come as shock to land owners who have been staging protests over failure to be compensated.

Land owners may not get compensation for their parcels even as wrangles between National Land Commission and Kenya Railways intensifies, spilling courts.

The term of the current NLC commissioners is also set to expire on February 19,further complicating matters.

They took the oath of office in February 2013.

NLC has written to the National Assembly requesting for an extension, a request unlikely to be granted.

Landowners who ceded their property have been accusing the government of giving them a raw deal, with some saying NLC undervalued their properties.

Read: Naivasha SGR work blocked as landowners demand full payout

On Monday, Kenya Railways accused NLC of withholding Sh17 billion payout for those affected by the construction of Nairobi-Naivasha SGR.

Kenya Railways indicated that NLC received Sh17.7 billion between October last year and now to pay 1,090 landowners whose parcels were acquired compulsorily.

“The commission has however refused, neglected or failed to compensate the project-affected persons (PAPs) of the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR Phase 2(A) despite receipt of funds from them and repeated demands,” the documents indicate.

Kenya Railways claims construction work for Phase 2A of the SGR project has suffered delays arising from frustrated PAPs.

“As a consequence of the NLC delays in releasing compensation to the PAPs, we risk being sued by the contractors undertaking the works on the project in a claim for damages for delays since the PAPs have constantly been frustrating the ongoing construction work,” part of the court documents read.

However, NLC has been heaping the blame on land owners for failing to provide proper ownership documents.

Kenya Railways, through lawyer Peter Munge, said the delays may affect the completion deadline of May 31, this year.

Phase 2A of the SGR commenced on October 19, 2016.

On December 21, NLC said it had received Sh 10.2 billion for compensating Rongai- Ngong Line, Ngong –Mai Mahiu- including Mai Mahiu station and Mai-Mahiu- Suswa Station.

On January, 23, NLC said it could not process the remaining cases due to absence of relevant documents.

Yesterday, a section of land owners who spoke separately to the Star painted a picture of desperation.

Some of them said they have been paid.

However, most got what they did not expect.

“The fifth schedule for those who have not been paid is still stuck at Kenya Railways as Mengich(Maxwell) is out of the country,”land owner who requested anonymity said.

Read: Surveyors on site to hasten land payment for SGR-2 line

Mengich is the project manager for SGR.

The source said their properties were undervalued.

However, he had to take it up due to frustration and uncertainty.

He said 110 people along SGR route in Tuala,Kandisi and Ngong are yet to be paid despite several promises.

“About 40 percent was slashed owing to revised rates by the ministry of housing,”he said.

Another land owner who only identified himself as Gichuki and owns a school in lower Oletepesi said he is yet to receive the pay.

Gichuki runs Tabby’s Kinder garden and Primary school said he was forced to close down the school January last year.

The school which sit on two acre piece of land and runs from nursery up to class five had 50 pupils.

However noise and dust forced the school to.

Yesterday, Gichuki said they have not been compensated despite weeks of assurances.

Another land owner who requested anonymity said close 20 people have not been compensated around lower Oletepesi.

He said they opted to take the little government offered as “going to court could have been costly.”

“You know that the government said take it or leave and we had no option,”the owner who is a career civil servant said.

He was angry that his property worth over Sh5 million was undervalued.

“They took measurements before saying they would pay by square feet. They did not take into account the kind of finishes,” he said.

The civil servant said his five-bedroom house has two master suites, but was valued at Sh3 million.

China Road and Bridge Corporation corporate communications Jeanne Ongiyo told the Star that they hope sticky issues affecting the project are ironed out as quickly as possible.

“The completion of the project depends on how faster NLC and Kenya Railway resolve compensation. We will not rash the project because life of users will be at stake,”she said.

More: Payout demands delay SGR line from Nairobi to Naivasha

Ongiyo said recruitment was ongoing in anticipation that a favourable feedback will be found soon.

She said people had been laid off last year after the project stalled following disagreements over compensation.

Last September, Kajiado landowners blocked the construction of the railway for over two months demanding compensation.

The project had stalled at Empaash, Tuala, Oloosirkon, Milimani, Rankau, Kandisi, Merisho, Nkoroi, Kangawa, Oloolua, Ngong, Kimuka and Suswa.

Ongiyo said areas with problems still includes Rongai, Oloosirkon, Tuala, Embulbul and Kibiko.

She said that even though it was costly for the contractor to do the project in bits,the move was aimed at compensating for time lost.

“We are not frustrated as we knew that challenges were bound to happen but we hope things will move faster,”she said.

Ongiyo said it is not right to use someone’s land without compensation as respecting communities was key.

The construction from Suswa to Ngong is over 80 per cent complete.

At the Nairobi National Park, laying of tracks has been done.

However, about 27km stretch from Ngong still has issues.

This is despite the fact that the contractor targets to hand over the project to the SGR operator by June.

In some of the sections, landowners have put up villas worth millions of shillings in compensation.

Ngong tunnel, which is one of the longest, covering 4.5km, is complete.

Other completed tunnels are Kimuga ( 1.64km) and Nachu ( 1km).

The 120km Nairobi-Naivasha line will cost Sh150 billion.

Phase 2A includes the construction of a 5.3km tunnel, the supply and commissioning of 56 locomotives, supply and commissioning of 40 passenger coaches and the supply and commissioning of 1,620 freight wagons.

More: NLC to educate residents on SGR ahead of Phase 2

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