Retirees sue Kenya Railways to block sale of Ngara homes

Residents at Makongeni estate. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Residents at Makongeni estate. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Over 9,000 former employees of the Kenya Railways Corporation (KR) have moved to the High Court to stop the sale of their houses in Ngara Estate valued over Sh20 billion.

The retirees, who say they reside at the properties, urged Justice Enock Chacha Mwita to stop the sale as it contravenes an agreement reached between them and their former employer.

Lawyer Titus Koceyo, representing the pensioners, argued that the agreement reached between them and KR has been breached by the trustees of the retirees pension scheme.

“The retirees and KR identified some of the properties vested to them under the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme (KRSRB) which were to be sold to renovate other properties under their command,” Mr Koceyo told the judge.

He added that Ngara Estate was not one of the properties which was to be sold and the proceeds used to renovate other properties managed by the retirees scheme.

“Ngara and Makongeni Estates were identified as some of the properties under KRSRB which were to be renovated,” Mr Koceyo.

He however said that the is move to sell Ngara Estate is a blatant breach of the agreement and urged the judge to stop the move by KRSRB, Corporate & Pension Trust Trustees Limited and KR.

Outstanding issues

But lawyer Ben Millimo for KRCRB, the Trustees and KR opposed the application by the retirees saying there are outstanding issues which require to be undertaken at a huge cost and urged the judge to reject the case by the retirees.

At the same time the Secretary General of the Rift Valley Railways Workers Union, Mr Isaac Munai, applied to be enjoined in the case saying members of his union are also beneficiaries of the properties in question.

“Members of my union are beneficiaries of the pension scheme and they will be affected adversely by any move to dispose of the properties in dispute,” Mr Munai told Justice Mwita.

His request to join the case was opposed by lawyers Koceyo and Millimo who told the judge that the “inclusion of the SG was not going to add any material and legal value to the case.”

Mr Munai informed the court the same case filed before him is similar to another pending at the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC).

He urged the judge to order the case by the 9,000 pensioners filed by Mr Koceyo for Mr Lucas Ondonya and other pensioners be consolidated with two others pending before ELRC Judge Linet Ndolo and listed for hearing on November 23, 2017.

In a brief ruling, Justice Mwita enjoined Mr Munai in the case filed by Mr Koceyo and directed Mr Millimo to avail to him the petition before Justice Ndolo to see whether they are similar with the one filed by Mr Koceyo.

Justice Mwita directed the two lawyers and Mr Munai to file evidence then listed the case to be heard on November 30,2017.