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Economy

Ex-Jomo Kenyatta dancer to get Sh1bn for land near Ruto office

cash
The Treasury had allocated Sh500 million in the budget for the year ended June for the purchase of the 0.7-acre plot. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A Nakuru-based family, linked to a member of a traditional dance group that used to entertain late president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, will get Sh1 billion for land adjacent to Deputy President William Ruto’s Harambee House Annex office after the National Land Commission ruled it owned the property.

The commission says the estate of Rahab Wanjiru Evans is the valid holder of the title following complaints that the land adjacent to Mr Ruto’s offices was initially public property and allocated irregularly.

The Treasury had allocated Sh500 million in the budget for the year ended June for the purchase of the 0.7-acre plot, and a balance of Sh500 million was to be allocated in the current financial year, pushing the buyout deal to Sh1 billion.

But questions over the ownership of the land threatened to scuttle deal before the NLC backed the family of Ms Wanjiru, who was a former freedom fighter and a member of the Nyakinyua Group, which was famous for entertaining the late Kenyatta

She also served as Nakuru District Kanu Women Wing Leader during former president Daniel arap Moi’s era in the 1980s, underlying her proximity to power from the 1970s.

“The title to the estate of Rahab Wanjiru Evans is upheld,” said the NLC in a notice, setting the stage for one of the most lucrative land deals in the capital.

Land in Nairobi remains most expensive with parcels in Upper Hill going for an average of Sh509.5 million an acre, according to real estate consultancy HassConsult. This underlines the worth of private land, like the one in Wanjiru’s family hands, in what is considered the government square, which houses the DP’s office, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s office and Parliament.

The proximity of Wanjiru’s land adjacent to government square added weight to the complaints that the parcel was public land. The land commission gazetted the open space behind the DP’s office for compulsory acquisition in June 2015 on security grounds. MPs had questioned the valuation of the property given that it had no buildings on it. Ms Wanjiru died in 2000.

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