State acquires Railways Club for Sh5 billion

The Treasury will spend Sh5 billion to compulsorily acquire Nairobi’s Railways Club and free up land for the expansion of Uhuru Highway and construction of a passenger terminal.

The Senate Labour committee says the Treasury has transferred the Sh5 billion to the National Land Commission (NLC) to facilitate compensation for the land belonging to the Kenya Railways Retirement Pension Scheme.

The government seeks to acquire the land for the Nairobi Expressway Road Project and build a passenger terminal for matatus coming through Machakos and Lang’ata roads at Railway Golf land off Uhuru Highway.

“The Treasury has confirmed that the money is available and that the NLC is finalising the valuation for the compulsory acquisition of Railways Club land,” Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja said while issuing a statement on a petition filed by the pensioners.

Nairobi Expressway is a Sh59 billion project that is meant to decongest the city from perennial traffic congestion.

The double decker road will be financed under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) will build the 27.1km road linking the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

The government in March published a Kenya Gazette notice listing 56 parcels of land to be acquired for the project.

The list included land belonging to Doshi Holdings, Simba Colt Motors, Next Gen Office Suites, Dyer & Blair Investment Bank, Technical University of Kenya, the University of Nairobi and Kenya Railways Corporation.

In September, the government carried out demolitions of businesses erected at the Nairobi Lunar Park and those that sit on the edge of Uhuru Park.

The demolitions followed the compulsory acquisition of the land belonging to the Kenya Railways Retirement Benefits Scheme.

Mr Sakaja said the Sh5 billion will cater to railways pensioners’ needs for the next six years.

“The scheme is also looking at a number of properties that it has put up for sale in Nairobi’s Valley Road and Upper Hill. Once these amounts are realised, the problems of railways pensioners will have been sorted out,” he said.

He said the Retirement Benefit Authority was working on a plan to ensure debt recovery and sale of assets to maintain the required liquidity ratios at the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme.

“We are also looking at governance issues and we have asked the Auditor-General to conduct a forensic audit on scheme operations. We have asked a similar audit from the RBA. We want to know how the rent money the scheme has been collecting has been utilised. We also want to know the status of land in which Rahimtulla Trust Building in Upper Hill sits,” Mr Sakaja said.

Members of the retirement scheme had petitioned the Senate to investigate its financial status after it failed to pay pension.

The scheme’s trustees have been disposing part of the multi-billion shilling asset investments in Nairobi and Mombasa to raise funds to pay pensioners.

The properties in Nairobi include a 0.48-acre plot in Hurlingham, a 43-acre parcel in Ngara and 0.71 acres on Kindaruma Road off Ngong Road.

In Mombasa, the trustees intend to dispose of 2.67 acres on Chambilo Road, Kizingo area, on which two four-storey block of flats each comprising 16 units of two bedrooms each sit.

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