Kenya Railways retirees to dispose of key assets
Steve Umidha @UmidhaSteve
Kenya Railways Corporation’s expanding ranks of retirees, faced with deteriorating healthcare and inadequate savings have begun plans to sell key properties for fortune change.
The troubled Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits placed five of its key land parcels worth billions of shillings up for sale through a tendering process in a gazette notice last week.
The five properties include four portions of half-acre each located along Matumbato Road in posh area of Upper Hill, Hurlingham Estate, Ngara Estate, Chambilo Road in Shimanzi Mombasa and other acres along Kindaruma Road off Ngong road.
“The board of trustees have resolved to sell the above properties by way of open tendering…pursuant to the stated objective of the scheme to improve the asset mix,” reads in part the gazette notice, whose closing date is May 7.
Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Scheme (KRSBS) also owns 139 acres prime land in Makongeni which has been sought for the affordable housing agenda.
The scheme has another 20 acres in Landmawe and some 35 acres remaining in Muthurwa, another at Goodshed (Easy Coach area) with eight acres, and another eight acres at the Kenya Railways headquarters.
This comes barely a year after the retirees in May last year called for an overhaul of the parastatal’s staff retirements benefit scheme board for “disappointing” its members.
The pensioners from Nyanza region at the time demanded an urgent general meeting to deliberate on the position of the scheme which they believed was on the verge of collapse.
The scheme as of last year owed its members over Sh450 million in unpaid monthly pensions, having failed to remit the monies to its retired members for months.
In many cases, the worst toll has fallen on the scheme’s members many of whom worked for most of their lives then found themselves struggling in retirement after their retirement dream was run down following poor management of the multi-billion-shilling scheme.
A report undertaken by Retirement Benefits Authority in 2010 found wanton mismanagement of the scheme property as pensioners went for months without pay and the scheme was found to be running on high expenses with no budget approvals from the board of trustees.
The pensioners’ scheme was also spending Sh19 million yearly to cover for bank charges to process pension.
“The illiquid assets, mainly land and buildings transferred to the pension by the sponsor had serious encumbrances such as absence of title deeds.
There have been series of complaints reported to the authority and even the Ministry of Finance from the pensioners related majorly to non-payment of pension, misappropriation of scheme assets, abuse of office and other governance gaps,” RBA’s wrote in its 2010 reports finding.