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Economy

Ministry says multi-billion SGR demolitions ordered by Cabinet

bulldozer at a demolition site
A bulldozer at a demolition site in Nakuru County. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NMG 

The Cabinet sanctioned the June 14 demolition of multibillion- shilling properties along the standard gauge railway (SGR) Phase 2A corridor, MPs heard on Tuesday.

Transport principal secretary (PS) Esther Koimett told Parliament that the houses falling on the SGR corridor were brought down to pave way for construction.

“However, through a Cabinet decision to finalise the remaining inaccessible land by the SGR EPC contractor, Kenya Railways (KR) was left with no alternative but to demolish properties within the SGR corridor on June 14,” Ms Koimett told MPs.

Transport chief administrative secretary (CAS) Chris Obure said owners of the homes knew their properties were to be demolished.

“We were under immense pressure on how to complete the project within timelines. There was pressure at all levels of government. This is why KR was compelled to take this extraordinary measure,” Mr Obure said.

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The project is 98 percent complete and is to be launched by end of August by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Ms Koimett said the demolished properties mostly belonged to persons whose compensation offers are subject to active investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

“Kenya Railways, through SGR consultant CAEC and SGR Project Contractor CCCC, issued several notices through barazas and meetings for them to vacate the corridor. These notices were done on June 12 and 13, 2019,” Ms Koimett told the National Assembly’s Transport and Lands committee.

She appeared before the committee chaired by Pokot South MP David Pkosing to respond to questions regarding the demolitions in Nkoroi, Kajiado North Constituency.

The question was asked by area MP Joseph Manje.

National Lands Commission acting chief executive Kabale Tache said the EACC had cleared 106 of the 120 properties sampled by the anti-graft agency when it launched investigations into claims of over valuation.

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