Squatters to buy Portland Cement land in Athi River for Sh0.6m a plot

East Africa Portland Cement has revised its terms for settling dozens of squatters on its 709 acres in Athi-River. FILE PHOTO | NMG

East African Portland Cement (EAPCC) has started a process of selling land parcels to squatters who have been living on its Athi River property.

The cement maker has made an offer to the squatters to pay Sh100,000 for a beacon certificate and another Sh500,000 within a year to purchase a plot of land measuring 40 feet by 80 feet.

The cash-strapped firm commenced the land sale and regularisation process of three parcels measuring 709 acres. The EAPCC convened its first public participation exercise on Friday last week to spell out the sale process and land price, which it stated is subject to review upon further negotiations.

The cement manufacturer could raise hundreds of millions of shillings from the proposed transactions, assuming the squatters take up most of the plots and pay the required amounts in full.

The deal with the illegal settlers is the latest move by EAPCC to dispose of part of large land holdings and use the proceeds to fund its operations amid losses and lack of additional capital injection from the government.

In 2019, the firm passed a board resolution to sell part of its 16,000 acres to raise Sh45 billion and use the proceeds to settle debts and turn around the company.

The meeting with squatters was attended by hundreds of settlers, political leaders, EAPCC managers and lawyers, and Geoner Systems Ltd which is acting as the land sale agent.

The cement manufacturer said squatters who have been recognised through existing umbrella bodies.

The hundreds of squatters drawn from Kwa Mang'eli, Kasoito, Slaughter, Sofia, and Kinanie slums had written several letters to the cement maker asking to be legally settled on the land.

They occupied the piece in 2010. The squatters settled under three structured umbrella groups which include Syokimau Mavoko Community Association, Ngwatanio ya Mukamba Self Help group and Kathama Welfare Association. EAPCC has since recognised the trio.

"Portland and squatters have buried the hatchet and years of wrangles. We assure squatters no one will be evicted. You will be respective plot owners," said Gordon Mutugi, EAPCC head of corporate affairs and strategy.

The applicant will sign a sale agreement and be issued with a beacon certificate usable in financial institutions to qualify for a loan. The piece of land borders Daystar University along Mombasa road.

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