NAIROBI, KENYA: Nairobi City County government has been asked to stop collecting rent at Mariakani estate.
The declaration by House Public Accounts Committee (PAC) further directs the county government to stop claiming ownership of the vast estate.
The committee, chaired by MCA Wilfred Odalo in a report submitted and unanimously adopted in the county assembly, states that the Local Authorities Provident Fund (Lapfund) is the bona fide owner of the estate.
The PAC report is the result of a probe informed by the Auditor-General’s report on financial statements of Nairobi City County for the period ended June 30, 2016.
Mariakani estate, sitting on 10.13 acres of land with developed blocks of flats comprising 240 three-bedroomed residential units, changed hands from the defunct City Council to Lapfund in 2012 in a debt-swap deal.
However, a tussle between the two has been ongoing since 2013 with former Governor Evans Kidero’s administration claiming a stake in the over 50-year old estate.
City Hall transferred Mariakani to Lapfund in 2012 to settle an outstanding debt of Sh1.4 billion. The swap was recommended and approved at Council Special Finance meeting on August 10, 2012 for the council to have access to Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATF).
The Local Government ministry approved the debt swap through a letter [Ref. No. MLG/2310/V(32)] dated November 1, 2012. The transfer was executed on February 18, 2013 and the title of the property registered in favour of Lapfund on April 3, 2013.
The property was valued at Sh1.45 billion as at February 2012 to offset the debt. PAC says if the estate was not given out, the outstanding debt with Lapfund would be in excess of Sh26.21 billion.