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Blow for SGR landowners as state halts cash payout

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Compensation for the second phase of SGR have been stopped to pave way for investigations.

DPP Noordin Haji made the revelations yesterday even as land owners engage authorities in unending blame game.

“SGR land compensation…I think we have agreed that we are going to start investigations immediately and we are writing to the various authorities to seize all payments until investigations are complete,”he said.

He was speaking during the handing over of Sh 2 billion parcel of land to University of Nairobi that was reclaimed from private company.

This come as shock to land owners who have been staging protests over failure to be compensated.

Land owners may not get compensation for their parcels even as wrangles between National Land Commission and Kenya Railways intensifies, spilling courts.

The term of the current NLC commissioners is also set to expire on February 19,further complicating matters.

They took the oath of office in February 2013.

NLC has written to the National Assembly requesting for an extension, a request unlikely to be granted.

Landowners who ceded their property have been accusing the government of giving them a raw deal, with some saying NLC undervalued their properties.

Read: Naivasha SGR work blocked as landowners demand full payout

On Monday, Kenya Railways accused NLC of withholding Sh17 billion payout for those affected by the construction of Nairobi-Naivasha SGR.

Kenya Railways indicated that NLC received Sh17.7 billion between October last year and now to pay 1,090 landowners whose parcels were acquired compulsorily.

“The commission has however refused, neglected or failed to compensate the project-affected persons (PAPs) of the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR Phase 2(A) despite receipt of funds from them and repeated demands,” the documents indicate.

Kenya Railways claims construction work for Phase 2A of the SGR project has suffered delays arising from frustrated PAPs.

“As a consequence of the NLC delays in releasing compensation to the PAPs, we risk being sued by the contractors undertaking the works on the project in a claim for damages for delays since the PAPs have constantly been frustrating the ongoing construction work,” part of the court documents read.

However, NLC has been heaping the blame on land owners for failing to provide proper ownership documents.

Kenya Railways, through lawyer Peter Munge, said the delays may affect the completion deadline of May 31, this year.

Phase 2A of the SGR commenced on October 19, 2016.

On December 21, NLC said it had received Sh 10.2 billion for compensating Rongai- Ngong Line, Ngong –Mai Mahiu- including Mai Mahiu station and Mai-Mahiu- Suswa Station.

On January, 23, NLC said it could not process the remaining cases due to absence of relevant documents.

Yesterday, a section of land owners who spoke separately to the Star painted a picture of desperation.

Some of them said they have been paid.

However, most got what they did not expect.

“The fifth schedule for those who have not been paid is still stuck at Kenya Railways as Mengich(Maxwell) is out of the country,”land owner who requested anonymity said.

Read: Surveyors on site to hasten land payment for SGR-2 line

Mengich is the project manager for SGR.

The source said their properties were undervalued.

However, he had to take it up due to frustration and uncertainty.

He said 110 people along SGR route in Tuala,Kandisi and Ngong are yet to be paid despite several promises.

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“About 40 percent was slashed owing to revised rates by the ministry of housing,”he said.

Another land owner who only identified himself as Gichuki and owns a school in lower Oletepesi said he is yet to receive the pay.

Gichuki runs Tabby’s Kinder garden and Primary school said he was forced to close down the school January last year.

The school which sit on two acre piece of land and runs from nursery up to class five had 50 pupils.

However noise and dust forced the school to.

Yesterday, Gichuki said they have not been compensated despite weeks of assurances.

Another land owner who requested anonymity said close 20 people have not been compensated around lower Oletepesi.

He said they opted to take the little government offered as “going to court could have been costly.”

“You know that the government said take it or leave and we had no option,”the owner who is a career civil servant said.

He was angry that his property worth over Sh5 million was undervalued.

“They took measurements before saying they would pay by square feet. They did not take into account the kind of finishes,” he said.

The civil servant said his five-bedroom house has two master suites, but was valued at Sh3 million.

China Road and Bridge Corporation corporate communications Jeanne Ongiyo told the Star that they hope sticky issues affecting the project are ironed out as quickly as possible.

“The completion of the project depends on how faster NLC and Kenya Railway resolve compensation. We will not rash the project because life of users will be at stake,”she said.

More: Payout demands delay SGR line from Nairobi to Naivasha

Ongiyo said recruitment was ongoing in anticipation that a favourable feedback will be found soon.

She said people had been laid off last year after the project stalled following disagreements over compensation.

Last September, Kajiado landowners blocked the construction of the railway for over two months demanding compensation.

The project had stalled at Empaash, Tuala, Oloosirkon, Milimani, Rankau, Kandisi, Merisho, Nkoroi, Kangawa, Oloolua, Ngong, Kimuka and Suswa.

Ongiyo said areas with problems still includes Rongai, Oloosirkon, Tuala, Embulbul and Kibiko.

She said that even though it was costly for the contractor to do the project in bits,the move was aimed at compensating for time lost.

“We are not frustrated as we knew that challenges were bound to happen but we hope things will move faster,”she said.

Ongiyo said it is not right to use someone’s land without compensation as respecting communities was key.

The construction from Suswa to Ngong is over 80 per cent complete.

At the Nairobi National Park, laying of tracks has been done.

However, about 27km stretch from Ngong still has issues.

This is despite the fact that the contractor targets to hand over the project to the SGR operator by June.

In some of the sections, landowners have put up villas worth millions of shillings in compensation.

Ngong tunnel, which is one of the longest, covering 4.5km, is complete.

Other completed tunnels are Kimuga ( 1.64km) and Nachu ( 1km).

The 120km Nairobi-Naivasha line will cost Sh150 billion.

Phase 2A includes the construction of a 5.3km tunnel, the supply and commissioning of 56 locomotives, supply and commissioning of 40 passenger coaches and the supply and commissioning of 1,620 freight wagons.

More: NLC to educate residents on SGR ahead of Phase 2

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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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