State repossesses 1,600-acre land in Ruai linked to Ruto

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 00:00 |
A view of the expansive land in Ruai which the government has repossessed. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

The government yesterday moved to repossess a 1,600-acre land in Ruai which has long been associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

The prime land on Kangundo Road in Nairobi, is one of two parcels that has been taken back by the State for the expansion of Nairobi’s main sewerage plant.

“The government today embarked on an operation to repossess over 3,000 acres of the Dandora Estate Waste Sewerage Treatment Plant, located in Ruai, which has been grabbed by private entities,” said a joint statement by Lands and Physical Planning Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri, and his Water, Sanitation and Irrigation counterpart Joseph Irungu.

The PSs named the affected parcels as LR 28706, measuring 1,605 acres, which is owned by Renton Company Limited. 

The other parcel is LR 28707, measuring 999 acres.  Renton company, which was registered in 1995, was allocated the land by  William ole Ntimama, the then Local Government minister.

The firm is associated with Ruto, the son of an influential former Kenya Power and Lighting Company top official, and a prominent city lawyer from the Rift Valley.

The second parcel is registered under Offshore Trading Company Limited, which is owned by former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo.

Both Ruto and Jirongo were prominent members of the infamous Youth for Kanu 92 lobby group which was formed to campaign for the re-election of President Daniel Moi in the 1992 multiparty elections. 

First commissioned in 1978, the Ruai sewerage plant, which sits on LR 12979/1/1, measuring approximately 1,637.31 acres, is in dire need of expansion.

“However, over the years, some groups of people have continued to illegally encroach into the above land taking up most of the land that was meant for the expansion of the treatment works,” said the statement by the PSs.

It added: “It is estimated that currently out of a total of approximately 4,240 acres of this land, only 1,637 acres is utilised for sewerage. Sadly, even the land in use has been encroached.”

The statement further said the government has acquired a loan of Sh20 billion from the African Development Bank and the French Agency for Development for implementation of sewerage projects in Nairobi City.

People Daily understands that Renton’s lawyer, senior counsel Tom Ojienda, yesterday rushed to court under a certificate of urgency to try and stop the takeover of the land.

Sources said trucks and earth movers from the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company first moved into the site on Tuesday afternoon to dig trenches. 

A big contingent of police officers supervised the demolition and takeover.

Renton had constructed godowns on part of the land while bits of it was being farmed. The godowns had been leased by a Chinese company.

The furthest end of the property which overlooks Kilimambogo hills in Machakos was being used as a shooting range.

Sources told the People Daily the property has been charged to a local bank for a loan whose correct figure we could not establish. 

On Jirongo’s parcel, we established the title deed is being held by the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation since 1993, over a Sh1 billion loan the former MP took from Postbank Credit Limited, which is in liquidation. The loan has since risen to close to Sh20 billion due to interest.

The Ruai takeover is the latest move by government agencies to repossess properties allegedly fraudulently acquired by the DP during his early years in politics.

In 2018, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority laid claim to a 1.7 acre land where the DP’s Weston Hotel sits on Langata Road. The National Land Commission found the land had been unprocedurally allocated to the DP and asked him to pay the current market value for the property.

The latest development will only serve to put further pressure on Ruto after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) re-opened investigations into a case where the DP was accused, but acquitted, of receiving more than Sh220 million from Kenya Pipeline Company for Ngong Forest land in 2002.

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