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Ndemo defies AG over allocation of land at Konza ICT park

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An impression of the Konza Tochnopolis Park in Malili, Machakos. Information PS Bitange Ndemo has defied the Attorney-General’s opinion over land allocation in a multi-billion shilling ICT park to be built on a 5,000-acre site south of Nairobi. Photo | File

Information PS Bitange Ndemo has defied the Attorney-General’s opinion over land allocation in a multi-billion shilling ICT park to be built on a 5,000-acre site south of Nairobi.

AG Githu Muigai had issued a legal opinion against direct sale of land in the park, known as the Konza Technology City, instead vouching for competitive tendering in step with the Public Procurement and Disposal Act (PPDA), 2005.

The construction of the technopolis is hinged on a model where the government offers land, legal backing, and architectural plans to investors to build business process outsourcing (BPO) ventures, a science park, shopping malls, hotels, international schools and health facilities.

Dr Ndemo has stepped up the search for investors in time for ground breaking in August, arguing that Parliament and the Cabinet recognise the existence of special economic zones. 

“Konza is one of the SEZ (Special Economic Zones) that was approved by the Cabinet and there has not been any Cabinet decision to have it stopped,” said Dr Ndemo yesterday in an email response to the Business Daily.

“We are not transferring any land until the Land Commission is established in the next four to six months. There is a lot that we must do in the mean time such that when the Commission is in place we shall be ready.”

He added that the government was looking to sell an acre of land at Sh200,000, terming it “low and serves as attractive bait for many business people.”

War of words

The push to offer land through direct sale looks set to up the war of words between Dr Ndemo and Prof Muigai who reckons that public land should be sold to private investors through competitive bidding.

“All future government land allocation to investors, including that of Konza Technology Park will be done through competitive bidding,” the AG told Business Daily in an earlier interview.

On the Konza technology city, Dr Ndemo said opening way for competitive bidding for land will not only create room for speculative buyers keen on capital gains, but also erode the competitiveness of Kenya as an investment destination.

The government has zoned part of the 5,000 acres for activities such as IT, hospitality, education, health and finance. The state has been conducting road shows to interest investors.