NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26-Nairobi County Government has been put on the spot over the irregular transfer of Mariakani Estate to Local Authorities Provident Fund (LAPFUND).
This was revealed through a report by the Auditor General querying the transfer of the property to the county governments’ retirement benefits scheme in 2013 in a swap deal involving the county government and the scheme for a loan worth Sh2.1 billion.
Some of the questions raised by the Auditor General include; documents in the transfer process, missing signatures and also having several dates attached and how the valuation of the estate was undertaken to arrive at its value at the time of the swap deal being Sh1.45 billion.
“We feel that the transfer was improper because even some of the people mentioned as part of the meeting have denied being present,” said the auditor.
Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee on Monday, Nairobi County Lands and Urban Planning acting chief officer Isaac Nyoike, who was the chief lands valuer at the time, was tasked to explain how the decision to use the estate in settling the debt and how its value was arrived at.
In his defense, Nyoike said that the decision to transfer the property was arrived at during a council meeting by the defunct City Council in August 2012 where a resolution was passed that the estate be used to settle the debt owed to Lap fund.
Acting Chair of the Committee Kilimani MCA Moses Ogeto, asked why the estate was used in the deal yet it was not originally part of the listed estates.
“Why did you transfer government property without following due procedures and changing dates without countersigning?” asked Ogeto.
In response, Nyoike said the meeting resolved that authority be given to Town Clerk at the time to enter into negotiations towards the deal saying the listing was not limited to only the mentioned estates.
Things got difficult for the Lands chief officer after he was pinned to further explain why they chose Mariakani estate which was valued at Sh 1.45 billion, and not Jevanjee quarters which was valued at Sh 1.8 billion to settle the Sh 2.1 billion debt.
“This reads mischief because if there was no malpractice, they would have gone for the highest valued estate instead of going for the one with a lower value which was not even part of the list,” said Mberia.
But Nyoike defended the transfer saying that the estate was used as it was the only one which had a ready title deed.