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Fresh bid for graveyard in Kenyan capital

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 16 – The Ministry of Local Government is being urged to put proper mechanisms in place to ensure that the proposed Sh150 million budget by the Nairobi City Council for the purchase of cemetery land is not misused.

Nominated councillor Mutunga Mutungi said transparency in the process will restore the public’s confidence in the council, after Sh283 million was stolen through a similar scheme during the purchase of cemetery land in Athi River.

“We still have the ongoing saga of the misappropriated funds set aside for the same. We are hoping that this is not another scandal in the making,” he said.

“We are appealing to the Minister for Local Government that before he approves the budget as proposed by the Nairobi City Council, ensures that it is not misused as was done before,” he said.

The proposal in the council’s 2010-2011 budgets was approved by the city councillors even though some had earlier opposed the plans.

If the budget is approved by the Minister it could see the council spend an additional Sh72 million more to pay the city’s 100 councillors, annually.

The councillors are also seeking to increase their monthly allowances from Sh100, 000 to Sh160,000, which translates to Sh6 million per month

The budget by the council also proposes the rehabilitation of the Dandora dumpsite at a cost of Sh20 million while City Mortuary will be expanded to accommodate more bodies at the cost of Sh5 million.

The budget further proposes setting aside Sh9 million to fence Pumwani Maternity Hospital and another Sh9 million to buy a boiler for the institution.

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The hospital will also be allocated Sh6 million to purchase a laundry machine.

The budget will have to get approval from the Local Government Ministry for it to become effective.

Councillors also passed a proposal to close down the Lang’ata Cemetery because it was full.

Speaking to Capital News, Mr Mutungi also emphasised the need for investigations into the stolen funds.

“The same people who were given the responsibility to buy cemetery land for Nairobians are still in office and we are asking the investigating body that was given the mandate to probe the issue to fast track their queries so that Kenyans can know where the money went,” he said.

The money was paid out fraudulently in respect of 120 acres of a rocky patch of land in Mavoko whose actual value was found to be only Sh24 million.

Officials the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission have questioned Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Nairobi Mayor Geoffrey Majiwa over the matter.

The two have since protested their innocence and have filed cases against the KACC.

President Kibaki suspended 12 senior Local Government officials including Local Government Permanent Secretary Sammy Kirui over the scandal and directed the recovery of money fraudulently paid out to those involved.

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