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NLC on the spot for ‘illegal’ payouts over Sh5bn bypass

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NLC vice chairperson Abigail Mukolwe says they have released Sh153 million to 68 residents living on the KDF land. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Eldoret residents angered by the National Land Commission's (NLC) move to compensate people who allegedly grabbed KDF land.

Compensation for those displaced to pave the way for the Sh5 billion Eldoret bypass has taken a new twist after residents claimed people who grabbed land belonging to Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) are among the beneficiaries.

Residents who spoke to Sunday Nation said they are angered by the National Land Commission's (NLC) move to compensate people who allegedly grabbed KDF land.

“What NLC has done is a clear indication that they value more the interests of cartels who have infiltrated the compensation process, than of genuine landowners,” said Mr Simeon Samoei, the chairperson of the affected landowners.

It also emerged that a farmers’ society had obtained a title deed illegally while claiming to be representing over 100 squatters who are demanding compensation for the government land.

The residents are now calling on the Senate Transport Committee chaired by Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi to intervene and compel NLC to stop payouts in Maili Tisa, Leseru and Tebeson until the committee tables its findings.

“Some influential people have been using all means to ensure that they get a share of the Sh300 million set aside by the government to pay Maili Tisa, Leseru and Tebeson residents. Senator Wamatangi and his committee should stop this matter until their report is made public next month,” he said.

On Tuesday, NLC vice chairperson Abigail Mukolwe said they had released Sh153 million to 68 residents living on the KDF land, adding that the payment was for developments on the parcel.

Speaking to Sunday Nation on phone, Ms Mukolwe said the commission had only wired money to people whose information had been validated, noting that the rest would have to wait until verification is concluded.

“Maili Tisa, Leseru and Tebeson belongs to the government. The government acquired it a long time ago for KDF but we are paying for developments there, and not land. For a fact, the government cannot buy its own land,” she said.

At the time of going to press, no resident had confirmed receiving the money.

The disillusioned locals said since the launch of the project on August 1, 2017 by President Uhuru Kenyatta at Cheplaskei, their economic activities had been negatively affected.

“I have not planted for two consecutive seasons with the fear that I might plant and then construction starts. Unfortunately, we have not been paid too, making life hard for us. We have no money to pay school fees for our children,” said Ms Grace Maina from Lelmolok.

Residents have vowed to terminate their agreement with the government if they are not paid by Tuesday.

“We will go to court next week if we are not paid. We also want Ms Mulokwe to resign for authorising compensation to individuals staying on government land. We will not allow some people to steal from the government twice — grabbing land and seeking compensation,” said Mr Lewis Boit, a youth leader.