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Hassan Joho forms team to handle Waitiki farm payout

COAST
By Patrick Beja | April 18th 2016

A view of houses built on Waitiki farm at Likoni, Mombasa. (Photo: Omondi Onyango/Standard)

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has named a team to negotiate with the State to buy the 930-acre Waitiki farm.

The county government seeks to pay the settlement fund trustees (SFT) Sh1.25 billion on behalf of 7,807 squatters who are supposed to pay the national government Sh182,000 per plot after being issued with certificates of lease in January this year.

While moving a motion that authorised the governor to buy the land for squatters on Thursday, county assembly Finance Committee Chairman Mohamed Hatimy said Mr Joho had already formed a county executive subcommittee to negotiate with the national government with the objective of paying for the squatters.

The county government intends to pay Sh5 million monthly instalments from the Equalisation Fund to buy the land on behalf of the squatters for the next 23 years.

Members of the committee include executives Anthony Njaramba (Lands), Hazel Koitaba, (Finance), County Secretary Francis Thoya, Lands Chief Officer Salim Jabu, County Legal Officer Mtalaki Mwashimba, political adviser in the office of the governor Idris Abdulrahman and Sophie Ismail, who will be the secretary. Mr Njaramba will chair the committee.

Njaramba has ruled out a waiver of Sh286 million land rates for former owner of Waitiki farm, Evanson Kamau Waitiki, by the county government.

"Mr Waitiki has been paid by the State and he should in turn pay us approximately Sh300 million land rates arrears," Njaramba said.

Mr Hatimy, a close ally of the governor, said it was unfair for the national government to force Likoni residents to buy the land.

"I am appealing to the Likoni MP (Masoud Mwahima) to join hands with the governor to help the residents," he said.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mombasa chairman James Mureu said the squatters should have been left to pay Sh182,000 per plot and feel the pinch as this would have deterred them from selling the land.

"It is not right for the county government to purchase land for the people" Mureu said.

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