The National Land Commission (NLC) is on the spot over inflated compensation for land acquisition in the Sh16 billion James Gichuru-Rironi road expansion project by China Wu Yi Company.
The NLC was put to task to explain why the cost of one section of the 16-kilometre dual carriage road was increased from Sh1.4 billion to Sh6.4 billion and latter cut to Sh5.1 billion.
The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) hired a consultant to evaluate compensation claims for the project which has been divided into three Lots, 3A, 3B and 3C.
The consultant put the compensation cost for Lot C at Sh1.4 billion but the NLC in its valuation put the figure at Sh6.4 billion before scaling back to Sh5.1 billion.
KeNHA is to compensate 729 affected persons in the section, which will pave way for construction of the road comprising three lanes on either side, pedestrian sidewalks and other associated works.
“When we received the Sh6.5 billion bill from NLC for Lot 3C, there were many gaps when project affected persons (PAPs) came to say they noticed errors.
“The NLC concurred that there were some errors and we asked them to clear up the compensation schedule, resulting to the figures coming down to Sh5.1 billion,” Mr Peter Mundinia, the KeNHA Director- General told the Senate committee on Transport chaired by Mr Kimani Wamatangi.
The project is expected to shine a light on the land acquisition process for public infrastructure.
Speculation and complex land acquisition procedures have left the government battling missed construction deadlines and potential losses to the taxpayer through cost inflation on flagship energy and infrastructure projects across the country.
NLC Acting Deputy CEO Francis Bor distanced the commission from Mr Wamatangi’s assertions that the NLC appears to have been making payments selectively to influential personalities. He said the commission receives lists of persons to be compensated and the amount to be paid from the acquiring authority, in this case KeNHA.
The NLC is yet to value and settle on compensation claims for Lots 3A and 3B. Lot 3A covers James Gichuru to Uthiru, Lot 3B starts from Uthiru to Zambezi Bridge while Lot 3C runs from Zambezi to Rironi.
According to KeNHA, its consultant has put compensation claims for Lot 3A with 2,653 persons at Sh7.2 billion.
For Lot 3 B KeNHA estimates that 2,216 persons will require Sh8.5 billion.
KeNHA said the NLC valuation will determine how much will be compensated to the remaining PAPs.