Kenya Railways has sued the National Land Commission (NLC) for sitting on Sh17.7 billion meant for land compensation that has stalled construction of the Nairobi-Naivasha standard gauge railway.
Kenya Railways says the NLC has failed to pay 1,090 landowners despite the Treasury wiring the money to its accounts.
The delay, according to Kenya Railways, has led to stalling of some sections of 120Km standard gauge railway (SGR) line that is now unlikely to be completed by the May deadline, raising fears that the Chinese contractor could slap taxpayers with a compensation claim for delayed works.
The NLC said in November through a Kenya Gazette notice that it has stopped payments for 1,674 parcels of land between Syokimau and Mai Mahiu estimated at 2,544 acres after an audit revealed the amounts had been inflated.
“The respondent has between October 26, 2018 and now received from the National Treasury the sum of Sh17.7 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.
The firm wants the court to order the NLC to release the cash to avert further delay in the multibillion-shilling project whose construction commenced in October 2016.
Some of the affected sections are Rongai station to Ngong station, the Nairobi National park to Rangie Station and Ngong Station to Mai Mahiu station.
Kenya Railways attributes the delay to wrangles among the NLC commissioners.
NLC chairman Mohamed Swazuri has sued his deputy Abigail Mukolwe for illegally assuming the powers of the chairperson, arguing that has allegedly triggered institutional chaos and exposed the institution and him to liability.
The NLC said the land valuation for the Naivasha SGR line had reduced claims to Sh7.4 billion but declined to disclose the initial inflated amount.
The commission said the revocation followed an extensive analysis of the affected parcels of land which revealed discrepancies in computation of the awards.
Some landowners accused the NLC’s valuers of including non-existent features in targeted plots to inflate prices and fleece the public hard-earned cash.
A semi-permanent three-bedroomed house had been changed into a bungalow with a swimming pool in one of the compensation forms.