Nairobi County Assembly PAC wants Mariakani Estate valued afresh

According to the committee, there could have been collusion to undervalue the multi-billion property during its transfer to the Local Authorities Provident Fund/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14 – The Nairobi County Assembly Public Accounts Committee now wants the Mariakani Estate that was used to settle a Local Authorities Provident Fund (LAPFUND) debt valued afresh.

The report of the committee revealed that the property was not valued by independent valuers at the time of swapping but the county relied on its own valuers raising concerns on the disclosed value of the estate.

According to the committee, there could have been collusion to undervalue the multi-billion shilling property during its transfer to the Local Authorities Provident Fund.

“Documents adduced to the committee did not show any independent and professional valuation of the property, thus casting aspersions on the disclosed value of the property,” the report read.

The county transferred the estate to LAPFUND through a debt swap to clear Sh2.2 billion the city owed the scheme.

In February 2012, the estate was valued at Sh1.4 billion but this was revised to Sh1.95 billion in 2013 following revaluation ordered by the then Governor Evans Kidero.

The report was tabled at the County Assembly by PAC Chairperson Wilfred Odalo and adopted unanimously by the House.

“The Chief Officer Lands should within three months of adoption of this report engage three independent valuers to determine the exact value of the property which should be used as the basis of the debt swap,” read part of the report.

The estate has 30 blocks of eight apartments each, with a total of 240 three-bedroom units. Each tenant pays Sh10,000 per month.

Despite LAPFUND crediting the Nairobi City County Government’s account with the property, the County Government still collects rent from tenants hence undermining the essence of the debt swap and further risking the County Government employees and exposing the county to unnecessary litigation.

The PAC report recommended that the County Government should immediately stop collecting rent from Mariakani Estate tenants to avoid unnecessary litigation and safeguard the retirement benefits of the county employees.

The committee also recommended that the County Government should desist from selling/swapping residential properties as it affects the livelihoods of city residents.

The committee further recommended that in case the county Government decides to transfer or sell any county property to settle debts or otherwise, there must be adequate public participation with the approval of the County Assembly as required by the constitution and other applicable laws.

JEMIMAH MUENI :