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Meru County executives refute reports on Sh300m governor’s mansion

Only Sh30 million has been set aside for the construction of Meru governor’s residence and not Sh300 million as indicated in the county’s Integrated Development Plan, it has been clarified.

Speaking at the county headquarters in Meru Town, four county executives and an official described reports in the Daily Nation and Nairobi News that the mansion would cost Sh300 million as misleading.

The executives were Mr Martin Bikuri (Lands, Housing, ICT and Physical Planning), Mr Newton Itobi of Roads and Infrastructure, Ms Mary Mwiti (Water and Environment), Hellen Nagithia (Education) and Chief of Staff James Mutia.

“The CIDP is just a shopping list which shows the best Meru would like to have but might not be realised. Despite being in CIDP we might not be able to achieve some of the things,” Mr Bikuri said of the Sh300 million envisaged by the CIDP.

Mr Bikuri said only Sh30 million had been approved by the County Assembly for the construction of the governor’s residence.

“The money in the basket is Sh30 million, the rest are details. The CIDP is for investors but we don’t have that money. If the issue goes to public tender the money could be scaled down or we might do away with it if costs are high,” Mr Bikuri said.

RENTING OFFICES

However, the officials could not say whether additional money is to allocated for the project in the next financial year.

They said the county government was currently renting a house for Governor Peter Munya and that it wanted to construct a residence so that it could also be used to host local and international guests and for meetings.

“The residence is not for governor Munya but for any who future holder of the same office,” Mr Itobi said.

He said the county government was keen on constructing the mansion to cut on recurrent expenditure “by having our own structure which we are not paying for.”

The county, the leaders said, was currently incurring huge expenses for holding meetings in hotels due to lack of adequate space.

They explained that the county government was was currently renting offices for its staff as the former Municipal Council offices could only handle 200 staff.

EXECUTIVE MANSION

According to an advertisement run on local dailies on Wednesday, the county government intends to put up an “executive mansion” for the governor.

The new governor’s residence is to be constructed adjacent to the Meru County Commissioner’s one in the town and the officials said it is the only housing project being done by the county government at the moment.

The construction of the edifice, complete with a gymnasium and a sauna, is expected to start soon.

The advert further states that the works will comprise the main house, domestic quarters, swimming pool, ablution block, gymnasium and sauna.

The residence will comprise of self-contained two-bedroomed staff and security team houses, a conference facility, offices and a swimming pool as well as a fountain.

Tenderers are required to submit their bids on or before February 25 at the county headquarters.