KBC executives risk dismissal over status of Sh16.3 billion land

The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation offices in Nairobi.  

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The management of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) risks being removed from office for failing to adequately respond to audit queries on the status of land worth Sh16.3 billion.

The National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee on Social Services Administration and Agriculture was forced to suspend its sittings after acting KBC managing director Paul Macharia failed to provide satisfactory responses to questions raised by Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu.

‘’I want to warn you that we will have no other option other than to recommend that all of you be sacked for gross incompetence,” Caleb Amisi, the committee vice chairperson warned before standing down Mr Macharia from answering the queries.

“This entire sitting has been a waste of time. It is null and void and this means we will give you another chance to answer these questions afresh. We are not getting the answers we need. It's purely a waste of time.”

Mr Macharia was accompanied by the Finance and Administration manager Samuel Mwanza, technical Manager Job Karemi and Editor-in-Chief Samuel Maina to answer queries on KBC’s books of accounts for the financial years 2014 to 2021.

The Auditor-General had questioned 10 parcels of land worth Sh7.5 billion that have no title documents, have been encroached or are disputed by other parties.

Ms Gathungu has also questioned the property, plant and equipment balance of Sh16,394,364,000 which includes land valued at Sh12,857,874,001 spread across the country.

“However, most of the corporation’s parcels of land remain un-surveyed and/or fenced for safeguarding and lack ownership documents,” she said.

“This is contrary to Section 139(1) of the Public Finance Management Act Regulations, 2015 which states that the Accounting Officer of a National Government entity shall take full responsibility and ensure that proper control systems exist for assets and that preventive mechanisms are in place to eliminate theft, security threats, losses, wastage and misuse.”

Ms Gathungu pointed out that urgent intervention is required to secure the land most of which is in prime areas and faces threats of encroachment by illegal settlers.

She said physical verification carried out in various field stations revealed the irregular allocation of Sauti House Land in Mombasa.

Ms Gathungu said the KBC was sued in Mombasa (ELC No. 283 of 2013) for the Sauti House piece of land where the matter went up to the Court of Appeal and determined against the corporation.

“In a letter to the KBC from the Attorney General, Ref AG/ELC/CIV 299/21 of 27 April 2022, the AG determined that the Mombasa Block XXXI/577 was irregularly surveyed and subdivided into parcels of land Nos. 579, 580, 581, 582, 583, 584, 589 and 590,” Ms Gathungu said.

The Attorney General made a recommendation for the KBC to involve the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to institute proceedings to recover the parcel of land on behalf of the corporation.

“However, there was no evidence indicating that the corporation had acted on the AG’s advice and or the state and progress of the case to recover the grabbed land,” Ms Gathungu said.

“As a result, illegal private developers continue to occupy public land.”

The Auditor-General has also raised the red flag on a suit by the KBC against County Government of Mombasa for illegal encroachment of its 22.85 acres of land in Nyali LR No. 1476.

A judgment was passed in favour of KBC in a ruling by the Environment and Lands Court at Mombasa on July 22, 2022.

“However, physical verification of the land, revealed that despite the ruling, the corporation is yet to fence it to prevent further illegal encroachment,” Ms Gathungu said.

Ms Gathungu said an inspection of the corporation’s Sauti House in Mombasa revealed that some portion of the office space has been leased out to a canteen operator.

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