Millions for Ruto’s Coast home revealed
The government has revealed that it is converting the former residence of the Coast provincial commissioner into the official home of Mr Ruto.
Treasury data tabled in the National Assembly shows renovating the building, situated next to State House, has been allocated Sh39 million for the year starting July.
This is an addition to the Sh7.5 million spent on the building this year, bringing the total to Sh46.5 million. The government in September last year invited contractors to refurbish the house to befit the status of the deputy president. The house is unoccupied.
Former Coast PC and a past Coast Regional Coordinator Samuel Kilele was the last occupant of the house.
Cost details on refurbishing the home come days after it was revealed that taxpayers will pay Sh50 million to build a second office in Mombasa for the second most powerful man in the country.
The National Assembly’s Budget committee in mid-April gave a breakdown of the revised government spending, giving an indication that the amount for the year ended June will cover the initial construction of the office. The government opted against leasing an office for Mr Ruto in Mombasa for security reasons, prompting plans to build the block.
In Nairobi, Mr Ruto has preferred to reside in his private home instead of the palatial Karen property that sits a 10-acre piece of land. He uses the Sh400 million Karen residence for official functions, especially when hosting delegations, besides his main office in Nairobi located on Harambee Avenue
The Karen residence will be refurbished at Sh15.6 million and Harambee Avenue at Sh35 million, pushing the Ruto property upgrade costs to Sh89.6 million for the year ending June 2019.
During official working tours to the Coast, Mr Ruto is expected to put up at the new residence as opposed to staying at beach hotels like has been the case in the past, while President Uhuru Kenyatta spends time at State House in Mombasa.
Construction of the new office and upgrade of the PC’s residence come amid government push to cut the current budget following a revenue shortfall of Sh84 billion.
Treasury secretary Henry Rotich said the annual allocation to county governments will be reduced by Sh18 billion while that of the national government will be cut by Sh60 billion.
The below target tax collection has been occasioned by reduced economic activity due to drought and political uncertainty linked to last year’s General Election.