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Compensation hurdles delaying Lapsset project

COUNTIES
By Patrick Beja and Paul Gitau | February 5th 2015

Kenya: Confusion over national identification serial numbers and bank account details is among the reasons holding up compensation of landowners on the land designated for the Lamu port.

National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri yesterday explained that unclear personal details were to blame for the delay in releasing the money to the landowners.

The Government has set aside Sh40 billion for the construction of the first three berths for the Lamu port, a component of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset) project.

The lawyer for the 147 landowners George Kahiu has threatened to take the matter back to court.

Mr Kahiu yesterday said he clarified on the identification of 12 people when requested to do so by Government agencies and wondered why the State was still holding up the funds.

"We will return to court on February 11 and request that the injunction we had secured earlier to stop the construction of the Lamu port is reinstated," Kahiu warned.

Delayed for months

He said he recently talked to Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli and was assured that his clients would be compensated but wondered why that is yet to materialise. The first batch of 157 landowners in the area designated for the port has been identified for compensation but the process has delayed since last year.

The Government will pay out about Sh1.3 billion to acquire land in Kililana for the facility and more in Hindi-Magogoni and Mashindwani for the port access road.

The Government has acquired the land at Sh1.5 million per acre. NLC and the Ministry of Transport are jointly handling the compensation.

Residents and leaders in Lamu have complained about long delays in the release of the funds.

Lamu West MP Julius Ndegwa said most of the issues have been sorted out and hoped the funds would be released.

"I have been following the matter with the Government and only about five per cent of the issues are being contested. We want the Government to start releasing funds for those without contested matters," Ndegwa said.

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