Puzzle of Sh1.9b KNH land payout

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
Mystery abounds as to the fate of Sh1.9 billion compensation dues to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) following the acquisition of their land for a city road.

The hospital, which virulently pursued the compensation during the tenure of ex-CEO Lily Koros, has now gone mum on the matter as other agencies involved present conflicting narratives on the same.

In the matter, National Land Commission (NLC) valued the 2.1 ha land through which Hospital Road and Mbagathi Way Link Road was to pass and directed Kenya Urban Roads (Kura) to pay up the sums through it.

Letters seen by Sunday Standard suggest that an agreement had been sealed on the payment back in 2016 before it was dropped.

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According to Kura, there was an agreement involving KNHwhere the roads authority promised to renovate a five kilometre road and perimeter fence at the hospital as alternative to the compensation.

John Cheboi, Kura’s communications director, said there was a consensus between NLC, KNH and Kura that compensation was not tenable.

“We agreed and KNH was involved. In return, we are renovating a five-kilometre road within the hospital and the perimeter wall,” Cheboi said.

“It is in the law. No payment can be made as compensation for the land because it is owned by the government,” he said.

NLC, which was pushing for payment, has also taken an about turn on the matter, saying there is no way the commission could pay the hospital for the land since the health facility was a government entity.

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“The government cannot compensate itself. Land can only be transferred from one institution to another,” responded Abigael Mbagaya, the NLC Vice Chairperson.

Attempts to reach the hospital to confirm this were futile as the new CEO, Thomas Mutie, did not answer calls or respond to our message.

On his part, KNH Head of Communications Simon Ithae said he could not comment on the matter and referred us back to the CEO.

“Please contact the CEO on this. I am on leave,” said Ithae in a text message.

Earlier communications between the three agencies leave no doubt that they were contemplating compensation to KNH. 

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“The commission has finalised the valuation and the compensation schedule amounting to Sh1,859,297,000 is attached. Kura is expected to deposit an administrative charge of one per cent amounting to Sh18,592,970,” reads a November 30, 2016 NLC letter to Kura directing it to deposit the money at the commission’s National Bank account.

By February of the following year, KNH had not been compensated despite a flurry of meetings and letters. 

The last letter on February 28, 2017 was a reminder to the NLC over the pending compensation, citing earlier meetings with Kura.

“...the issue touching on compensation to the hospital following the construction of the Upper Hill-Mbagathi Link Road could not be addressed, as it emerged that this issue was outside the ambit of KURA and were advised to engage directly with you (NLC),” said the letter addressed to NLC.

In the letter, the hospital also indicated that NLC had completed the valuation of the land and even recommended the payment of the money for compensation.

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Kenyatta National HospitalKNHNational Land Commission