Uasin Gishu MCAs query plans to buy bank house

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago. [Standard]

The Uasin Gishu County Government is in a spot over inconsistencies in the cost of buying a building in Eldoret town.

Last month, the Executive mooted plans to buy the National Bank of Kenya building, situated on the Uganda Road, to be used to house its administration staff.

The county assembly has, however, cast doubts on the Executive's plan after it emerged that the initial cost of Sh568 million could have been inflated.

Last Friday, assembly members grilled Lands Executive Nelson Maritim, who gave conflicting figures, raising questions about the deal.

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“Sh450 million is for the purchase of land while Sh168 million will be used in acquiring the building,” Maritim told the assembly.

But Leader of Majority Josphat Lowoi, who moved a Motion to reject the county's plan, said a valuation report presented by Maritim had indicated that the cost of land was Sh400 million.

“We want the correct figures because the Executive is giving a conflicting report by saying a different figure from what is in the valuation report,” Mr Lowoi said.

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Maritim clarified that the amount was Sh400 million and explained that the inconsistency had arisen because his office had hurriedly prepared for the assembly meeting without counter-checking all the figures.

Halt project

The MCAs however rejected his argument and unanimously resolved to halt the project.

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Lowoi said the Executive should instead identify an appropriate piece of land belonging to the county government and build new offices instead of buying an old building.

“No future budgeting should be done for the same and the Controller of Budget should be informed so that no funds meant for the purchase of the National Bank building are released,” said Lowoi.

The Leader of Majority added that the National Land Commission and the Attorney General's office should have given them a report on the matter.

Deputy Speaker Hosea Korir said there were legal issues surrounding ownership of the National Bank building, and that the county risked losing millions of shillings in the deal.

Ngeria ward representative Gilbert Tenai supported Lowoi's Motion and urged MCAs to decline approval of the expenditure. He said the county government was not providing reliable facts about the purchase.

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Speaker David Kiplagat said he would raise members' concerns and the assembly's decision to reject the project with the Controller of Budget, National Bank, the County government, Treasury and the Attorney General.

“My office will move with speed to ensure this resolution of the House as concerns the bank building purchase is effected to ensure we safeguard public funds," Mr Kiplagat said.

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National Bank of KenyaUasin Gishu County GovernmentEldoret townController of Budget