By CYRUS OMBATI
The Kenya Anti- Corruption Commission has repossessed 24 houses in Woodley area, Nairobi valued at Sh869 million that were irregularly acquired from the City Council.
The houses were on Thursday reverted back to the council, which will now continue to run them and collect the rent from the tenants.
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The houses include one block of eight flats that have three bedrooms and 23 bungalows with a one-acre compound.
KACC director Prof PLO Lumumba said some of the houses were surrendered back by individuals who had obtained them at a fee of Sh1.1 million 19 years ago.
Lumumba said other houses were repossessed after the commission won cases in courts that they had launched over the same.
“Some people are beginning to see the light on this issue of corruption and we urge all those who believe they irregularly acquired their property to surrender them,” he said.
Among the people whose houses were taken away include Permanent Secretary in the PM’s office Mohamed Isahakia, former MP Noah arap Too, Joseph Mutuota, Dickson Njiru Kianda, James Reriani Gachagua, Lucy Wanjohi, Joseph Otunga, Elizabeth Cheroitich Mibey and Rahab Wanjiru Gichuhi.
Others are Ruth Maina, Johnson Ondiek, Mary Ongele, Stephen Kirima Kogi and Tegemeo Investments.
Lumumba said the amnesty they had given to anyone who acquired property illegally to return it to the rightful owner is still in place.
“People are calling from Kitale, Busia, Eldoret and other urban areas indicating they are ready to return the property they believe they obtained irregularly. We encourage them,” he said.
He challenged Town Clerk Philip Kisia to ensure the houses are run well and reflected to a time when compounds were being fumigated, painted and have garbage collected.
“We are encouraging people to continue surrendering these property but the council should also ensure they are well run,” he said.
Kisia and Mayor George Aladwa said none has powers to allocate public property to individuals.
Kisia regretted some council officials had even allocated road reserves to individuals in the city but promised to ensure they are reserved.
Aladwa said the event will serve as a warning to those whose minds are bent on reaping where they did not sow.
“We urge the commission to continue pursuing more similar cases and we pledge our support to win this war. We have to revert back stolen property to the council,” said Aladwa.
Woodley estate is one of the prime areas in the city that have been at the centre of court cases over grabbed property.
People were murdered in the area as they fought over the property.
KACC is currently embroiled in a tussle with among others a minister and a former minister over the houses they acquired illegally.
A tenant, James Kamau who had acquired one of the bungalows but has since returned it said he had been conned by many people who claimed rent from him.