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City Hall takes over Kenya Railways land over debt

NAIROBI, KENYA: Retirees of the Kenya Railways Corporation are staring at a bleak future as their only source of livelihood is attached to pay land rates.

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City Hall is demanding more than Sh8.5 billion in unpaid rates from their pension scheme, which will likely be recovered through disposing of railways property.

Muthurwa estate has already been acquired by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority for the development of a major elevated road called the Nairobi viaduct.

Hundreds of families still living in the estate will subsequently be evicted to make way for the project that is intended to ease access to the city centre.

The Nairobi County Government took possession of the prime land measuring 18 acres and valued at Sh1.8 billion in February.

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The 8,600 pensioners’ future is uncertain considering that the settlement of retirement benefits is already lagging behind.

A protest letter from the association of retirees claims that the pensioners have not been paid for five months.

While the transfer of the Muthurwa land is already complete, it has been met with stiff objection from pensioners.

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It has also renewed the bad blood that has existed between retirees and pension managers, who have been accused of disposing of railways assets at below market prices.

In one instance, association Secretary General Henry Toili claims a pricey home on Ngong Road was sold for Sh510 million against the market value of Sh750 million.

Since inception of the scheme, most of the benefits have been paid using proceeds from the sale of assets, including Matumbato estate in Nairobi’s Upper Hill District.

Rental income from the scheme’s houses is insufficient to pay the benefits, hence the continued sale of various parcels of land.

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