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Mystery over transfer of city estate deepens

The mystery surrounding disposal of a city estate has deepened after it emerged that an official signed a transfer agreement after he had left office.
The town clerk of the defunct City Council of Nairobi, Mr Roba Duba, signed the transfer of Mariakani Estate to the Local Authority Pension Fund (Lapfund) on March 18, 2013, over a Sh2.1 billion debt, according to documents in our possession.

What has baffled Nairobi MCAs is how Mr Roba, who is now the MP for Moyale, signed the agreement to transfer the estate after he had resigned to contest the parliamentary seat in the March 13, 2013 elections.

The transfer has angered residents of the estate and MCAs who are now demanding an explanation from the county government.

CONCEALING INFORMATION

They are accusing the Dr Evans Kidero-led government of concealing information regarding the transaction.

“The transfer was done secretly. It was done when Dr Kidero was already in office,” Nairobi South MCA Manoah Karega said on Monday.

County Secretary Lillian Ndegwa  said the estate, with 30 blocks of eight flats, each was sold over a debt owed to Lapfund.

The fund managed retirement benefits of employees of local authorities before the advent of county governments.

Ms Ndegwa claimed the estate was sold after a resolution by a full council meeting.

She has also admitted that the property, which stands on 10.13 acres of prime land in South B next to Mater Hospital was under valued when it was said to be worth Sh1.4 billion.

Already, the county government has moved to court to recover the estate.

SETTLE MATTER

“We are trying to re-evaluate the estate and we hope we can settle the matter out of court,” Ms Ndegwa told members of the assembly’s Public Accounts Committee.

But the MCAs said they did not believe her, arguing they are not aware of any council resolution to sell the estate.

The sale agreement shows that the meeting that resolved to transfer the estate was not a full council meeting.

It was a special Finance committee meeting on October 10, 2012, which MCAs say did not have powers to ratify the transfer.

The documents show that the town clerk was granted powers to enter negotiations with Lapfund on how to clear the debt after a meeting of the finance committee.

Lapfund required an agreement and commitment for payment of the debt, according to the minutes.