Investors on a disputed plot in Nairobi’s South B estate are looking at Sh16 billion losses should the Ministry of Agriculture repossess the land and demolish their houses.
Also on the contested plot is a church, Winner’s Chapel, with a seating capacity of 18,000 people that has taken millions of shillings of followers’ money to put up, according to a pastor who requested anonymity.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei said the huge investments, which also contain two other residential blocks, were built on land belonging to the veterinary department and was acquired illegally.
Notice to tenants
“Seventy per cent of the 210 acres belonging to the veterinary department was acquired illegally, and we are giving notice to the tenants that the land will be taken back,” announced the minister after touring the area on Friday.
The announcement came as a surprise to residents of Diamond Park, a housing estate estimated to be worth Sh16 billion, at the current market value, and which was sold to more than 600 individuals from 10 years ago.
The director of the Diamond Park Housing Company, Mr Mohammed Khalif Ali, said the firm bought the land from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in 2003, and went on to subdivide it to 600 individuals, with some of the buyers buying complete housing units and others purchasing plots and later putting up houses.
“We have all the documents including the original title deed from NSSF and we are ready to present them to court if it comes to that,” he said.
Since Mr Koskei made the announcement, worried tenants have been bombarding the directors of the housing company, to explain the new developments, with the management saying their lawyers would pursue the matter on Monday.
Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission spokesman Yassin Aila said the issue was under investigation, but that he needed to refer to the records to establish whether there were any leads.
“I need to refer to the records before I can speak authoritatively on the issue,” he said.
Following the minister’s announcement, there was hue and cry as residents said they feared losing their lifelong investments.
Some said they took loans to buy the homes and had nowhere else to go.