Jimnah Mbaru opposes sale of Council houses

August 15, 2012
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An aspirant for Nairobi Governor Jimnah Mbaru said the decision would affect the tenants in those houses as the rent would significantly increase/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 15 – The City Council of Nairobi (CCN) has been urged to consult widely before implementing a plan to sell seven residential estates to offset debts.

An aspirant for Nairobi Governor Jimnah Mbaru said the decision would affect the tenants in those houses as the rent would significantly increase.

In a press statement, Mbaru advices the council to privatise other amenities like parking lots and idle open grounds instead of selling off the houses in a bid to raise funds.

“How can the City Council purport to sell public houses where children and old mothers depend on as a shelter and leave them with nowhere to go?” he posed. “They do not have enough money to buy them even if they were told to purchase them.”

He cited a previous move by City Hall which proved counter productive.

“In the past, the council ceded a number of housing estates to the National Housing Corporation (HFC) for eleven years after it was unable to pay a debt of Sh1 billion and was forced to sell Madaraka estate in the manner of which it is preparing for the sale of the council houses,” he stated.

City Hall plans to sell the seven residential estates to offset a debt of Sh13 billion.

The council, through its Finance and Planning Committee, passed a resolution last week to transfer the estates to the Local Authorities Pension Trust in lieu of Sh8 billion in unremitted retirement deductions from workers.

Other assets were to be sold to offset a controversial Sh5 billion loan from Equity Bank last year.

The properties lined up for sale include Jivanjee Bachelors Quarters, Old Ngara, New Ngara, Kariakor, Jamhuri and Buru Buru as well as Sunken car park along Taifa Road.

Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu said on Monday that he had instructed his lawyers to move to court to stop the intended transactions and called on city residents to resist the move.

Waititu said the resolution was passed without the requisite quorum and councilors were being compromised to adopt the minutes as a full council resolution.

The resolution needs support from 40 of the city’s 79 councilors to become enforceable.

Waititu said the council should first explain how it utilised the loan from Equity Bank before moving to dispose of other properties.

Parliament’s Local Authorities and Funds Accounts Committee is investigating how the loan was secured and used by the council.

Last week, the committee established that the loan was not approved by the Minister for Local Government as required by law.

The committee also heard that the original loan agreement could not be traced at the City Hall and the council’s legal department were not involved in the negotiations.

The sale of the houses to private owners are likely to see rents revised to market rates.

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