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Mombasa County ordered to make public Sh6b housing contract

REAL ESTATE
By Joackim Bwana | October 8th 2021

The High Court has ordered the Mombasa County government to make public details of Sh6 billion housing deal.

Justice Eric Ogola ruled that the county should reveal the contract it signed with Buxton Point Apartment Ltd in 30 days.

On January 15, last year, the county entered into a joint venture with the company for construction of 1,500 housing units at Buxton Estate.

The judge noted that on October 27, last year, the county’s attorney Jimmy Waliaula confirmed that the procurement process was concluded and the tender awarded.

Legal Advice Centre, Haki Yetu, Transparency International Kenya and Jack Maina have filed a petition seeking the details of the agreement.

The petitioners, through their lawyer Willis Oluga, sued had county government, Secretary Dennis Lewa and Executive for Land, Planning and Housing Department Twafiq Balala.

The petitioners sought to understand how the county intends to implement the housing project while taking into account public participation.

Justice Ogola said Balala lied on oath and misled the court by stating that the tendering process for the housing project was ongoing and the petitioners' request was premature.

However, said he was no longer in the employ of the county government.

“Having considered the respondent's (county government) defence, I'm not persuaded that there is a goodwill on the part of the respondent in matters relating to the furnishing of information on the joint venture agreement entered into in relation to the Buxton project,” said Justice Ogola last week.

In an affidavit sworn by Wangu Gacheru on December 21, last year, she said Governor Hassan Joho and his staff are bound to comply with the law and supply information at every stage of the implementation of the project.

Gacheru said Joho, Lewa and Balala had declined to comply with directives issued by Justice Peter Otieno on December 23, 2016, directing the county to provide the information.

Balala, in his response dated June 26, 2019, said the information sought was available on the county government's website. But Gacheru denied.

Waliaula said the tendering process was awarded through a competitive process.

The petitioners also want Joho, Balala and Lewa cited for contempt of court and committed to six-month civil jail.  

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