The National Land Commission has been accused of withholding Sh17 billion payout for those affected by the construction of Nairobi-Naivasha SGR.
Documents filed in court by Kenya Railways indicate 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.
It says it has written to the NLC directly and made demands through their advocates, asking for the release of the compensation funds due and payable to the PAPs. The NLC continues to withhold a substantial part of the sum, it says.
“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.
Kenya Railways, through lawyer Peter Munge, says the delays may affect the completion deadline of May 31, this year. Phase 2A of the SGR commenced on October 19, 2016.
Munge says it’s the legitimate expectation of affected parties that the commission would release the compensation received from the Treasury to the PAP’s promptly and without any delays.
He says though there are wrangles within the NLC, they should not hurt national projects and rights of citizens.
“They should release the amounts received from the Treasury to the PAPs without undue delay as they have no justification to withhold payment,” the court document reads. Kenya Railways entered into a commercial turnkey contract with China Communication Construction Company Ltd for construction of the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR for a contract sum of $1.4 billion.