By Philip Mwakio and Paul Gitau
Kenya: A Principal Secretary and a former Member of Parliament in Nairobi are among the 142 landowners who have received millions of shillings in compensation for land surrendered to the State for a new port project in Lamu. The two individuals are listed among Project Affected Persons (Paps) whose names cannot be divulged or published to ensure safety and security of the beneficiaries. The Standard has established that although 146 landowners were originally listed to share the Sh860 million handed to the National Lands Commission ( NLC) by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) as compensation to the affected, the number of those listed has since dropped to 142 after some names believed to be of prominent individuals disappeared from the list for unknown reasons. Two weeks ago, Justice Oscar Angote, who was sitting at the Malindi High Court, ordered KPA to deposit Sh1.35 billion with NLC in readiness to compensate 146 people affected by the project. The individuals had sued the State demanding compensation before commencement of the works. In total, there are 187 people affected by the project but some did not sue and are expected to be indemnified during the second phase of compensation from the remaining cash. A former high profile administrator in Lamu is among those who opted to delete their names from the list of beneficiaries. See also: Fresh wrangles as Ngilu, PS clash over report on truce Despite the secrecy attached to the catalog of beneficiaries, The Standard has established that the highest earners – a man and his wife, jointly recouped Sh39,459,399 for land measuring 10.646 hectares, which they both own. Documents show that compensation was put at Sh1.5 million per acre with most of the money being paid to cover the value of the land since most of the affected parcels had no agricultural or other developments. According to the documents, the PS and former MP owned or acquired land in the affected area and qualified for compensations after several stages of verification. The PS has pocketed about Sh4 million for giving away 1.09 acres while the former MP was paid Sh7.1 million for 1.94 acres. Yesterday, the beneficiaries’ lawyer, George Wakahiu confirmed that the compensation process for his clients had started but declined to provide any names. He, however, told The Standard that a former MP in Nairobi who bought land at the Hindi-Magogoni area was among the beneficiaries. Notable groups set to benefit from the exercise include Utumishi Investments Limited, Nijuka Limited and Lamu Holdings Limited.
The highest single individual earner is a farmer who used to own land in Kililana, which would be turned into Port development area to house the headquarter offices, staff quarters, police station and offer road access. He pocketed Sh35,789,964, according to the documents which also show he gave away three parcels of land totaling 9.656 hectares. The lowest earner will carry home Sh518,910 for 0.14 hectares. The Sh445.2 billion ($5.3billion) Port is part of the Sh2 trillion ($23 billion) Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor project, a key flagship project identified in the Vision 2030, to link Lamu to Ethiopia and South Sudan. In Kililana, 58 parcels of land which have been acquired for the project cost Sh519,078,253 while 92 plots were carved out of the Kililana–Mashundwani, which will serve as main access road, at a cost of Sh681,556,731. At the Hindi-Magogoni, Sh103,852,385 is being paid out for 23 plots to be used as road access, bringing the total amount of money to be paid out to Sh1.3 billion.The NLC said payments for parcels of land which have disputes among land owners will not be made until such disputes are resolved. Sh860 million has been paid out to beneficiaries since last week Friday.