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Kenya Railways pensioners raise alarm over disposal of assets

By Kibiwott Koross | May 26th 2015

Former employees of Kenya Railways have petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to help stop irregular disposal of properties belonging to the corporation.

In the petition to the Head of State, Kenya Railways Pensioners Association Secretary General Robert Azaria said the retirees could have lost more than Sh3 billion following irregular sale of their assets.

"Pensioners' assets, which include prime plots in the city, have been fraudulently disposed of by individuals. We now want President Kenyatta to intervene," he said.

In 2006, Kenya Railways Corporation transferred 23 parcels of prime land because it did not have liquid cash to fund Kenya Railways Staff Retirements Benefits Scheme (KRSRBS), whose liabilities had accrued to the tune of Sh21.4 billion.

All assets  99 per cent being land and buildings, were subsequently entrusted to a Board of Trustees who were drawn from senior managers of the corporation and carefully chosen private sector experts in land, financial, insurance and pension management. The properties were duly gazetted through Legal Notice No. 169 of September 7, 2006.

Some of the properties were in extremely prime areas like Upper Hill and others within the precincts of the Central Business District, which, according to  Azaria, had been fraudulently disposed of without the members' consent, while the pensioners were reeling in poverty.

Prime properties

Currently, he claimed, the highest pensioner earns Sh7,000 while some earn as low as Sh3,000. An example, according to him, is the ongoing sale of prime properties in Upper Hill, Nairobi, at Sh262 million per acre against the current price of around Sh500 million. The property measures 6.5 acres.

"We demand the ongoing sale of 6.5 acres plots at Matumbato, two acres in Valley Road and another two acres in Chambilo, Mombasa County to be stopped," read part of the petition. The pensioners are also demanding a forensic audit to unearth what he referred to as "corrupt practices that have rocked the scheme."

Azaria claimed trouble started when the initial Board of Trustees was disbanded after crafting a strategic plan to transform the scheme.

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