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Railway pension puts land on sale to meet RBA rules

Only 30 per cent of any fund’s assets should be held in a non-liquid form. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Only 30 per cent of any fund’s assets should be held in a non-liquid form. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Cash-strapped railway pension scheme is disposing of two prime Nairobi plots to shore up its cash reserves and comply with the watchdog asset mix guidelines.

The 10,000 member-strong scheme’s properties are located in Upper Hill and the high-end Hurlingham residential-cum-commercial areas.

Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefit Scheme has been under pressure in the past for holding Sh30 billion retiree funds in land and developed property across the country.

Retirement Benefits Authority regulations require that only 30 per cent of any fund’s assets should be held in non-liquid form.

This has led to delayed pension payments resulting in some members dying from treatable and manageable ailments. The fund has placed 3.24 acres located along Matumbato Road in Upper Hill on sale — where an acre goes for Sh550 million up from last year’s Sh457 million, according to real estate firm HassConsult.

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The other property is a half-acre plot located along Woodlands lane off Jabavu/Argwings Kodhek roads in Hurlingham, where a half acre goes for between Sh140 million to Sh180 million.

“The objective of the scheme is to improve the asset mix and portfolio as well as boost investment returns. Only serious buyers should bid for the properties to be sold in an open tendering system,” it said.

Tenders will close on November 22.

In 2014, the scheme’s forced sale valuation gave the Matumbato property a Sh347 million price tag while its Woodlands Lane property was worth Sh44.4 million but with Nairobi land prices rising fast, the two properties could be worth much more.

The fund’s last AGM last February ended in disarray with members accusing the trustees of mismanaging funds.

Attempts to dispose four other properties namely Nairobi Railways Club, Makongeni, Mobray Court Kindaruma Road and Muthurwa valued at about Sh10 billion in June 2015 have been thwarted by pensioners’ court orders.

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