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Why leaders want Nairobi’s Mariakani estate valued afresh

Published Mon, May 21st 2018 at 11:51, Updated May 21st 2018 at 11:55 GMT +3

NAIROBI, KENYA: Members of the County Assembly want Mariakani estate, which had been surrendered to the Local Authorities Provident Fund (Lapfund) to settle a Sh2.1 billion debt, valued afresh.

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In a report, the County Assembly Public Accounts Committee also recommends that City Hall should stop collecting rent from the tenants and allow Lapfund full possession of the property.

The report, tabled before the county assembly on May 3, said officials from both the defunct Nairobi City Council (NCC) and Lapfund may have colluded to undervalue the property during the debt swap.

The debt was owed to Lapfund by the defunct NCC.

“Documents presented to the committee did not show any independent and professional valuation of the property  thus casting aspersions on the disclosed value of the property,” read the report.

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The committee led by Wilfred Odalo said documents presented revealed that the estate was initially valued at Sh1.4 billion, which was revised to Sh1.95 billion in 2013 following a revaluation ordered by then governor Evans Kidero.

“The Lands Chief Officer should, within three months of adoption of this report, engage three independent valuers to determine the exact value of the property which should be used as the basis of the debt swap,” the report stated.

The estate that sits on 10 acres has 30 blocks of eight apartments each. It has a total of 240 three-bedroom units. Each tenant pays Sh10,000 per month.

Controversy over the property began in 2014, when the Auditor General questioned the manner in which the transfer was done.

“Due diligence requires both the Ministry of Lands and at least two independent valuers undertake valuations prior to transfer. It is not clear how the valuation for Mariakani was undertaken,” read the Auditor General’s 2015-2016 report.

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