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Investors to lose rent income as fiat on police housing takes effect

By Vincent Achuka | Published Sun, November 4th 2018 at 00:00, Updated November 3rd 2018 at 23:26 GMT +3
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet addressing media at National Police College Embakasi ‘A’ Campus shortly before he held a meeting with police officers on Saturday November 3rd, 2018. The theme of the meeting was: A new policy framework on the reorganization of National Police Service and provision of decent and affordable housing for officers.(Jenipher Wachie, Standard)

Deputy President William Ruto could be among hundreds of property developers who are set to lose billions of shillings in rent as Treasury starts effecting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order on provision of houses to police officers.

The directive is to save the government up to Sh3 billion on renting houses for junior police officers from private developers.

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The government spends an average of Sh28,000 on every officer it is forced to seek alternative accommodation for because its own houses are full. This situation has over the years provided an opportunity for well-connected property owners to get easy money and a stable income in a market where supply and demand factors determine prices.

A confidential breakdown of the ownership of some 119 properties across the country obtained by the Sunday Standard details houses owned by prominent businessmen and politicians connected to top levels of the Jubilee government.

Some of the properties whose owners are set to lose heavily include Easton Apartments along Jogoo Road. Easton is owned by an insurance company associated with Deputy President William Ruto. It is run by Legend Management Ltd which is currently earning Sh26,400,000 per year in a deal that runs until February 27, 2021.

Had the lease been left to run for its entire four-year period, Easton apartments would have made Sh105 million.

Legend Management also owns Osere Flats in Ongata Rongai whose one wing has provided 72 two-bedroom units to the government, raking in Sh16,900,000 per year. Its contract is also supposed to run till 2021.

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Osere Flats also provided another 98 Units to the police in a deal that expired last year when it was under Mateny Limited. The company which was associated with a politician from Western Kenya was at that time making Sh26 million per year.

Another company set to lose Sh5 million a year is Awama Investments which is associated with a former Sports Minister. The company has provided 28 houses to the police in a deal that is to run until the end of 2020.

Saturday, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet promised police officers that they will start receiving their house allowances by December 1. The IG, who was addressing police officers at the NPS Embakasi ‘A’ Campus, however said the government will continue building houses for officers who want to rent them.

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Despite having about 70,000 junior police officers, the government only has 33,794 units within its camps, prisons and police stations. The government believes that allowing its junior officers to live within the communities they work will not only help to change the perception of the public towards the police, but also give them much needed morale.

“We want our officers to work without having to worry about their families. Some of the officers have been working on shifts due to lack of housing. Going forward, each can operate from anywhere," said Boinnet yesterday during a question and answer session with junior officers at the NPS college.

Out of an estimated 98,000 police officers, only those above the rank of inspector currently earn house allowances. The rest are housed by the government, creating a crisis that has seen many live in deplorable conditions. So bad is the crisis that some officers are forced to share houses despite having families.

In the ambitious plan, house allowances for police constables in Nairobi County will be paid at Sh18,124 per month. Those in Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Meru and Uasin Gishu will earn Sh13,124 per month.

Police constables in other counties will be paid Sh8,124 per month to cater for their housing needs.

The General Service Unit, Rapid Deployment Unit, Rural Border Patrol Unit, Presidential Escort Unit and police in training colleges will however not benefit from the proposed allowances.  

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