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Sale of disputed Murumbi land was above board, AFC now says : The Standard

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Former vice president Joseph Murumbi’s house in Transmara, Narok County. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]
The sale of a parcel of land that belonged to former Vice President Joseph Murumbi was beyond reproach, the managing director of the State agency that sold the property, insists.

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Lucas Meso, the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) managing director, said North Mugor Limited acquired the land after a 13-year period that saw most of the earliest bidders spooked by the farm’s squatter problem drop out.
Two other bidders failed to meet the corporation’s counter offer.
Mr Meso said AFC received all the Sh63.4 million from North Mugor as payment for the 976 acre-land hived from the initial 2,090-acre Intona Ranch.
SEE ALSO :Sultan heirs, tenants battle over landAFC, a development financial institution which extends loans to individual farmers and corporations, took possession of the land after Intona Ranch defaulted on a Sh8.6 million loan it had borrowed on September 16, 1985.
Some 836 acres of the land had been offered as collateral for the loan.
By August 20, 1989, the outstanding loan plus interest had snow-balled to Sh24 million, with the company left with little to no option but to recall it.
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Thirty years later, the land was sold to North Mugor Limited, through their lawyers Kemboy & Co Advocates.
A human rights group, Trusted Society of Human Rights Alliance, recently accused AFC of undervaluing the land, noting that the public might have lost close to Sh180.5 million. The human rights lobby had also alluded to corruption, insisting that the corporation did not receive the full amount.
SEE ALSO :300 tycoons probed over Sh10b land grabBut AFC said the sale of the 976 acres was informed by two “professional” reports done in a span of three years — May 23, 2012 and September 9, 2015.
The first valuation by Hectares & Associates valued the entire piece of land, the 2,090 acres, at open market value of Sh124 million while another one by Highland Valuers Limited, put the open market value at Sh130 million. The second valuer also estimated the forced sale value, the auction price, at Sh97.5 million. The corporation says that, unlike another two bidders who had expressed interest, North Mugor Holdings accepted its counter-offer on September 16, 2015.
The sale agreement between the two was executed on October 19, 2015 with the buyer making the required down payment of Sh15,860,000 in two tranches.
The first tranche of Sh9,860,000 was paid on September 25 while the second tranche of Sh6 million was received by the corporation on November 6, 2015.
The MD goes on to say that the balance of Sh47.6 million was received on November 16, 2015 through three transactions in one of its National Bank accounts.
SEE ALSO :Landowners protest subdivision of 10,000-acre ranch in NarokMeso is now reading mischief in the renewed interest in the land.  “It is clear that third parties with no locus in the matter have at all times tried to deprive the corporation of this property, hiding under adverse and ancestral rights claims. This activism should not be entertained,” he said in documents that the Sunday Standard has seen.
He said three groups had presented various complaints on the parcel and that 99 members of the Moitanik clan were given part of the land, 1,089 acres, through a court settlement.
Counter-offers
A second claim by 358 members of Uasin Gishu was voluntarily withdrawn while a third one by a Mr Kitui Yiamboi was dismissed by the court. There were nine bidders early on. The corporation says that save for North Mugor and two other bidders, most of the offers earlier given were not pursued further after the bidders learnt of the land’s squatter problem.
North Mugor’s offer was initially lower than that of two other bidders, who each offered to purchase 976 acres of the land at Sh60 million. North Mugor had offered Sh50,000 per acre which translated to Sh48.8 million.
SEE ALSO :Widow, 65, blames officials over land woesAFC got back to the three bidders with counter-offers. It wanted Sh63.4 million from North Mugor. The corporation says most of the offers given earlier were not pursued further after the clients learnt that the property was heavily squatted upon.
In 1998, the corporation’s attempt to auction the land fell through with no bidders found. As a result, AFC was forced to bid for the land through its agency. Meso said Section 33 (2) of the Agricultural Finance Act, gives the corporation the powers to bid in its auction through an authorised agency.
It was declared the highest bidder, with the corporation paying Sh28 million for the land. It got the land’s title in May 2002.
Seeing a lot of interested parties, and fearing loss of public funds, the management resolved to recover money by disposing of 976 acres. Meso said the many cases made it difficult for the corporation to dispose of the parcel of land at the earliest opportunity, explaining the reason why it had taken it 30 years since the loan was advanced to Intona Ranch. “In undertaking this disposal, the corporation acted above board and in accordance with the law, determined to make a decision in the best manner possible to ensure that public funds were secured,” he said.
The MD also said that the regime that was used to dispose of the land was the Agricultural Finance Act and not the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.
“Requiring the corporation to apply the provisions Public Procurement and Disposal Act in recovery of debts is a misapprehension and misapplication of applicable laws,” said Meso.

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Land rowJoseph MurumbiAgricultural Finance Corporation

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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

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Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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