Parliament has bought a Sh150 million palatial home for Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro in Nairobi’s Karen suburb.
The Clerk of the Senate, Mr Jeremiah Nyegenye, confirmed the house was bought in a sale agreement entered into on February 22. The transfer of title to the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), Mr Nyegenye said, was done on June 26.
Mr Ethuro has moved into the residence.
“The PSC has purchased an official residence to be used by the person for the time being holding the office of Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Kenya,” the clerk said.
“It is an institutional house. The Salaries and Remuneration Commission has set the provision of an official residence as one of the benefits accruing to a Speaker of a House of Parliament.”
Located on Bogani Road in Karen, the house created a buzz last year after it was featured in Business Daily with realtors branding it “one of the priciest single residential units in Nairobi”.
It had an asking price of Sh200 million, a figure that discouraged many buyers who said it was too expensive.
The house was at the time associated with former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali who denied owning it.
Executives at Villa Care, the real estate agency that was marketing the house at that time, had indicated that the owner wanted to pull it off the market because it had failed to attract a serious buyer.
Mr Nyegenye, who doubles as the PSC secretary, told the Sunday Nation that the Commissioner of Lands put the price at Sh150 million after carrying out a valuation of the property on December 24, last year.
Last year, Knight Frank, a top end real estate market operator — which later assumed marketing rights for the house — also quoted the price at Sh150 million.
Mr Nyegenye said the house was bought from Mr Ali Shire Hussein, who first asked for Sh200 million, but Parliament’s negotiating team insisted on the price recommendation of the Commissioner of Lands of Sh150 million.
“The procurement of the official residence for the Speaker of the Senate was done through a competitive process that commenced with an advertisement placed in the Daily Nation of January 31, 2012. Construction of the 20,000-square foot mansion that sits on two acres spanned a period of four years.
Perhaps only second to the Deputy President’s Sh400 million mini-state house – also located in Karen – in terms of grandiosity, the new Speaker’s residence was always meant for a king.
It is a one-storey structure set in the middle of a spacious compound that has a 50-metre drive-way leading to the parking bay next to the house. There are two houses for domestic staff located at the back of the main house.
The Business Daily reported that the house has several entertainment rooms, a prayer room and two sunken living rooms that make it possible to host different audiences at the same time, on the ground floor.
As heads of the legislative arm of government, the Speakers of the bicameral Parliament are allowed to have official residences where they host their visiting counterparts. But they vacate them when they leave office.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi lives in Thigiri Gardens in New Muthaiga, Nairobi. His residence was acquired for his predecessor Kenneth Marende for Sh70 million in 2009.
The old Speaker’s house on Muhuti Road near the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi has been converted into a Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training.
The 2013/14 budgetary estimates for Parliament indicate both Speakers have hefty allowances in addition to their residences.