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MPs want EACC land in exchange for new offices

By Otiato Guguyu | Published Sat, March 4th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 3rd 2017 at 21:04 GMT +3
EACC was given notice to vacate Integrity Centre by August last year. Now, MPs have given the agency Sh700 million to acquire a new building in exchange for prime property in Karen. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

Members of Parliament have given the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Sh700 million to acquire a new building in exchange for a prime property in Karen.

EACC was seeking Sh300 million to acquire a new office block following an eviction order by owners of Nairobi’s Integrity Centre. In the supplementary budget submitted to Parliament, MPs have given the Eliud Wabukala-led team the money to get offices that will be shared with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“After deliberations, the committee was of the opinion that they will go by their earlier resolutions which meant the EACC will be provided with funds for acquisition of a house that will accommodate two offices of the DPP and EACC and it will in turn cede 5 acres of land in Karen in favour of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC),” Budget and Appropriation Committee Chair Mutava Musyimi said in the report submitted to Parliament.

It is not clear whether the Sh700 million will be sufficient to buy a building in Nairobi, or whether MPs want the anti-graft body and the DPP to rent premises. It is also unclear whether EACC is willing to let go of the five acres in Karen.

When reached for comment, Archbishop Wabukala said that was an operational matter that could only be handled by the CEO. However, efforts to reach EACC boss Halakhe Waqo were unfruitful.

Parliament’s interest in EACC land came after the Treasury turned down a bid to buy a 40-acre piece of land to put up a training school for Sh1 billion.

Inflated cost

“Approved estimates have been adjusted to Sh13.58 billion, comprising Sh10.4 billion for recurrent and Sh3.15 for capital expenditure which reflects a net decrease of Sh954 million meant for purchase of land to construct a training institute,” Treasury CS Henry Rotich said in the supplementary estimates submitted late last year.

PSC had closed tenders for potential investors five months ago to buy the piece of land within a 30-kilometre radius from Parliament.

The plan to purchase the land steered controversy after Nyamira Senator Kennedy Mong’are said PSC was planning to buy land from an unnamed member of the team at an inflated cost.

This coincided with troubles at Integrity Centre where EACC was asked by the landlord to leave by August last year. Reports indicate the building changed ownership without the knowledge of depositors of the collapsed Trust Bank, whose interests were being held in trust by the Deposit Protection Fund.

EACC went to Parliament seeking the Sh300 million to get an alternative office but this might now come at a cost.