Kenya Re in trouble over Sh1b invested in idle land

Reinsurance Plaza building in Nairobi city taken on June 2015. [File, Standard]

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has raised concern over investments by the Kenya Reinsurance Corporation (Kenya Re) in prime land worth nearly Sh1 billion, which is not bringing any returns as it is embroiled in ownership disputes.

Among the parcels of land owned by Kenya Re is a piece of land within the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) valued at Sh780 million as at December 2023.

The Auditor General says Kenya Re management has disclosed that it has restricted access to the property due to bureaucracy associated with access to a high security area such as JKIA making it impossible to realise full potential of the investment.

She also raised concern over the status of a parcel of land measuring 59.87 hectares along Ngong Road over which the corporation is in dispute with the Kenya Forestry Service (KFS).

Gathungu notes that although Kenya Re has received confirmation from the Director of Surveys that the land valued at Sh350 million is distinct from that belonging to KFS, the matter remains unresolved since the National Land Committee has not adjudicated the matter or provided a verdict.

"The Corporation has not realised the full benefits that may have accrued from ownership of the land and management is not in a position to make long-term investment plans," she says in an audit report on Kenya Re.

Ownership of another parcel of land measuring 99.5813 hectares along Kiambu Road valued at Sh563.77 million is also subject to a court case between Kenya Re and one of the directors of the vendor, making it unable to realise the full value for money of the funds invested in the property.

Another property whose ownership is in dispute is a parcel of land measuring 17.3 hectares in Shanzu, Mombasa valued at Sh23 million.

It is also being claimed by the Kenya Prisons Service. "As a result, the property is not being utilised to generate income and therefore not realising the full value for money of the funds invested in the property," notes Gathungu.

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