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Pensioners turn to Kenya's DCI in new bid to recover Sh1.2b assets

By Wainaina Wambu | Jun 10th 2019 | 2 min read
By Wainaina Wambu | June 10th 2019
An aerial view of Teleposta Towers in Nairobi's city centre. The building is owned by Telkom Kenya's Pension Scheme, an offshoot of the defunct Kenya Postal and Telecommunications Corporation. [File, Standard]

The Telposta Pension Scheme has renewed efforts to reclaim its grabbed assets across the country valued at Sh1.2 billion.

The scheme has enlisted the help of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), which has requested for relevant documents, in order to start investigations into how the properties in question were illegally acquired by powerful individuals.

The over 20 properties, including land and houses, are situated in prime locations such as Kileleshwa and Ngong Road in Nairobi, Milimani Estate in Kisumu and Kizingo in Mombasa.

The 10,000-member scheme, which pays Sh64 million monthly in pension to members, has been relentlessly pursuing the recovery of the properties, most of which have been lying idle, for the last decade as it looks to boost members’ benefits and its overall investment portfolio.

Telposta Pension Scheme Chief Executive Peter Rotich said the properties were originally handed over to the scheme by the Government in 1999 to ensure retirees continued to get their benefits after the then Kenya Postal and Telecommunications Corporation (KPTC) was split.

KPTC was dissolved in 1999 into three corporate entities - Telkom Kenya Ltd, the Postal Corporation and the now Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

“Upon the vesting of the properties, the pension scheme’s board of appointed surveyors and lawyers to help with the process of transferring title deeds into the name of the pension scheme. However, during that transfer process, they found out from various land registries that properties had been grabbed,” said Rotich. The scheme has a Sh16 billion investment portfolio countrywide.

Mr Rotich said the scheme has in the last 20 years tirelessly pursued the grabbed properties through various government entities such as the Judiciary, the lands, ICT and finance ministries as well as the National Lands Commission (NLC).

He said the process has been costly and lamented that the idle properties had compromised the scheme’s ability to meet its obligations to members. NLC had in a 2017 letter said it would need Sh8.2 million as facilitation to start investigations and public hearings to determine the legality of some of the properties.

The DCI in a letter signed by the head of lands investigation Geoffery Kinyua directed the scheme provide it with certified copies of member registers, locations of the properties, copies of the title deeds so as to launch investigations into the land grabbing claims.

“We are investigating a case of alleged fraudulent transfer of land touching on the above-captioned scheme properties,” said the letter sent last month.

The scheme last month received a favourable ruling on one of its grabbed properties in Kikuyu, Kiambu County.

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