Kenya Railways has sued the National Land Commission (NLC) for withholding on Kshs17.7 billion meant for land compensation that has stalled construction of the Nairobi-Naivasha section of the Standard Gauge Railway.
Kenya Railways is accusing the NLC of failing to pay 1,090 landowners despite the Treasury wiring the money to the latter’s accounts.
“The respondent has between October 26, 2018, and now received from the National Treasury the sum of Kshs 17.7 billion to remit to the 1,090 affected persons and/or the landowners whose parcels of land was acquired compulsorily but the respondent has failed to compensate affected persons,” reads the suit the Kenya Railways filed.
The railways firm wants the court to order the NLC to release the cash to avert a further delay in the multi-billion-shilling project.
Some sections of the 120Km standard gauge railway (SGR) line is now unlikely to be completed by the May deadline.
Some of the affected sections are Rongai station to Ngong station, the Nairobi National park to Rongai Station and Ngong Station to Mai Mahiu station.
The delay has also raised fears that the Chinese contractor could slap taxpayers with a compensation claim for the delayed period.
A Kenya Gazette notice from the commission halted payments for about 1,674 parcels of land between Syokimau and Mai Mahiu estimated at 2,544 acres after an audit revealed the amounts had been inflated.
In a separate incident, NLC was accused of remunerating land grabbers in the Kshs 5 billion Eldoret bypass project.
Abigail Mukolwe, the NLC vice chair, however, stated that the Kshs 153 million that was paid out to 68 residents living on the KDF land was only meant for developing the pieces of land.