Economy

Union fights plans for Ugatuzi Towers

UhuruUgatuzi

President Uhuru Kenyatta unveils a commemorative plaque during the groundbreaking ceremony of the G47 Ugatuzi Tower on December 4, 2020 in Hurlingham, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya County Government Workers Union has challenged the planned construction of the multi-billion Ugatuzi Towers, a project spearheaded by the Council of Governors.
  • The union is further seeking to prohibit CPF from constructing G47 Ugatuzi Towers on a prime plot that belongs to county workers pension fund.
  • Court documents reveal that CoG entered into agreement with LapTrust and CPF to erect the building on Chaka Road.

Kenya County Government Workers Union has challenged the planned construction of the multi-billion Ugatuzi Towers, a project spearheaded by the Council of Governors.

The union and its general secretary Roba Duba wants the High Court to stop the board of trustees of the Local Authority Pension Trust (LapTrust) and County Pension Fund from committing any funds for the construction of the building set to erected in Nairobi’s Hurlingham area.

The union is further seeking to prohibit CPF from constructing G47 Ugatuzi Towers on a prime plot that belongs to county workers pension fund.

Court documents reveal that CoG entered into agreement with LapTrust and CPF to erect the building on Chaka Road.

In the petition, the Union said the plan was not subjected to public participation and will expose pension members.

“Public interest favour conserving the pension of workers from wastage and investment that contravenes the constitution. It will be against the public interest if retirees cannot access their pension due to the illegal investments arising from Ugatuzi Towers,” Mr Duba said.

He said the amount involved is in excess of Sh5 billion which represents a huge portion of workers’ pension, and which is likely to go into waste or misused.

“To date, members and others stakeholders do not know the specifics of the project apart from what is in the public domain,” he said.

He said by investing jointly, LapTrust and CPF violated the principle of distinct and separate investment from the sponsor.

The court case adds that county governments have huge outstanding bills, which have not been remitted to the two pension schemes and county staff have always been at risk or retiring without any savings following a bitter row pitting COG and other stakeholders.

Laptrust was established under Local Government rules 2007 as an umbrella retirement benefit scheme for all local authorities.

Its principle objective is to provide pension and other retirement benefits to employees of the sponsors upon their retirement from service. LapTrust scheme was changed to CPF and took over new members from the county governments.

All pension schemes covering county governments’ workers such as LaptFund, Laptrust and CPF have been merged by the County Governments Retirement Scheme Act, 2019.

The union says there should be a moratorium on capital intensive investments pending the hearing and determination of cases touching on the Act.