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Transfer of city estate puts county chief on the spot


Mr Isaac Nyoike, the Acting Land and Urban Planning chief officer, who was questioned last week by MCAs on the deal. He was in 2015 the Nairobi County Council chief valuer.

A senior Nairobi county government official is on the spot over the controversial transfer of a city estate from the defunct Nairobi City Council to the Local Authorities Pension Fund (Lapfund) five years ago.

Appearing before the County Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last Monday, the acting county chief officer in-charge of Land and Urban Planning Isaac Nyoike was at pains to explain how the Mariakani estate in Nairobi South B changed hands.

The estate initially was valued at Sh1.45 billion and subsequently at Sh1.9 billion. It was transferred to offset a debt of Sh2.1 billion. Mr Nyoike was the chief valuer at the defunct Nairobi City Council at the time of the transfer.

In his defence, he explained that the transfer was arrived at during the then Council’s Finance Committee in August 2012. A resolution, he said, was passed that the estate be used to settle the debt owed to Lapfund.

DOCUMENTS NOT SIGNED

The Auditor-General raised queries regarding documents used in the transfer process, some of which were not signed. Some of the officers said to have attended the meeting have since denied being present.

The auditor also questioned how the valuation of the ten acre estate comprising 30 blocks of eight flats each was arrived at.

During the Monday meeting, Kilimani MCA Moses Ogeto asked why the estate was used in the deal yet it was not originally part of those that had been valued in consideration for the swap agreement.

Those valued included Jamhuri Estate, Old and New Ngara and playground, Jevanjee/Bachelors Quarters, Sunken Car Park, Kariokor and Buruburu.

He also wanted to know why there were no names of then councillors who attended the meeting where the resolution for the transfer of the estate was arrived at.

“Why did you go against the law to transfer a government property without following the requisite procedure and changed dates without countersigning?” asked Mr Ogeto.

Mr Nyoike maintained that it was only Mariakani estate which had a ready title deed, hence the decision to transfer it.

LIST NOT EXHAUSTIVE

In any case, Mr Nyoike argued, the list of the estates to be considered was not exhaustive and was also not limited to the five mentioned.

“The meeting resolved that authority be given to the Town Clerk at the time to enter into negotiations towards (reaching) the deal and the listing was not limited to only the mentioned estates,” said Mr Nyoike.

Karen MCA David Mberia put Mr Nyoike to task over why the deal was sealed at a time when the Nairobi City Council had been dissolved and a new governor had not been sworn into office.

Minutes of the 2012 Finance committee meeting showed that the deal ought to have cleared all debts owed to the pensions fund but it was revealed in 2015 that Lapfund’s claims against City Hall had since risen to Sh6 billion.

In 2015, it was revealed that former Nairobi Town Clerk Roba Duba was the person who signed the deal eight months after leaving office in June 2012.

Mr Duba has since denied signing such the deal and in 2016 asked the police to probe the matter.

The post Transfer of city estate puts county chief on the spot appeared first on Nairobi News.

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