Billions Lost in Rail Land Payments

The government has lost billions of shillings in the acquisition of land for the standard gauge railway through irregular compensation and overpayment of individuals affected by the project.

An audit report has revealed massive irregularities in the compensation to companies and individuals whose land has been taken over for the railway line.

The report now puts on the spot the Kenya Railways Corporation and the National Land Commission, which have been tasked with identifying beneficiaries.

The Mombasa-Nairobi phase of the project is estimated to cost Sh327 billion and is being financed by the government and China.

The details are contained in an internal audit report that has since been submitted to the corporation for action.

The audit team has pointed out huge disparities in payment to beneficiaries since the payment of compensation started.

The team cited a huge disparity between valuations of two sisal plantations. They had a variance of Sh337 million.

“The DWA sisal plantation in Kibwezi, which was fairly well kept, was compensated Sh1.5 million per hectare, while the one owned by Voi Plantations Ltd, which was poorly kept, was compensated Sh24 million per hectare,” says the audit report.

It further says: “Though minimal variance was expected between the two sisal plantations, maybe due to their distance from each other, the remaining lease period, if applicable, and how they were kept, the noted variance was material, thus implying subjectivity in the valuation.”

The report indicates that the DWA sisal plantation was awarded Sh50 million for 32.69 hectares while the Voi one received Sh360 million for 14.96 hectares.

The audit also detected Sh43 million compensation for public land at Mtito Andei paid to illegal beneficiaries.

“The public utilities land, which was set aside by the Makueni County Government for a stadium, primary school, slaughterhouse and cemetery were allocated to people irregularly and subsequent compensation was paid to them instead of the county government,” says the documents.

The report recommends that the management should consider further investigations into what led to the anomalies with a view to recovering the compensation that was irregularly paid.

The report also cites inconsistencies in Kathekani between the land sizes appearing on the railway corridor map and the measurements for the same plots in the NLC schedules used for compensation.

Source: Daily Nation

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