Kenya Re in advanced talks over Sh760m JKIA land row


Kenya Reinsurance Plaza. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya Reinsurance Corporation is upbeat on a deal with the country's airports operator in the coming months which will unlock value for a prime parcel which falls on a flight path near Kenya’s main airport.

The State-controlled reinsurer says it is “on course” to reaching an agreement with the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) which has for years locked it out of a Sh766 million parcel of land for security reasons.

Kenya Re’s managing director Hillary Wachinga said that a “solution is near” after the two parastatals held physical meetings to strike out a deal that will unlock the value of the land within the precinct of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

“We are on course to getting an amicable solution because that is our land and we have a title deed to it. The ownership is not disputed, but it’s a matter of national security where people can’t just come in on the land that is on a flight path,” Dr Wachinga told the Business Daily in an interview.

“The solution is near… [and] we are optimistic that in the course of this year, we shall have that solution.”

Use of land adjacent to airports is normally restricted to activities that do not pose a threat to the landing and takeoff of aircraft.

Asked whether the talks involved the option of KAA offering financial compensation, Dr Wachinga said:

“We are regulated and also owned 60 percent by the government, meaning we will have to bounce that with the government and also the regulator [Insurance Regulatory Authority]. So I may not commit to a Yes or No. But we have so many options that we discussed with them [KAA] and I may not want to make that public because this is a work in progress.”

Kenya Re has several land holdings in Kenya’s major cities which it cannot develop or sell due to unresolved legal battles and government mandates.

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