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NSSF top brass ignore plot buyers in media war

It is an episode of boardroom brawls that could leave deep hole in the pockets of Tassia II Settlement Scheme residents.

Members of the National Social Security Fund’s (NSSF) Board of Trustees have been throwing punches at each other in the media over a project that was expected to deliver the much- needed infrastructure to the estate.

The controversy kicked off by Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli several weeks ago has pitted him against Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi and NSSF acting managing trustee Richard Lang’at with the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) throwing its weight behind Mr Atwoli.

Ironically, it is the plot owners and NSSF contributors who are likely to be the biggest losers in the now scandal-ridden project.

In the war of words, the interests of these two groups have been relegated to the periphery with the procedure for varying the project’s amount from Sh3.3 billion to Sh5.03 billion and awarding of the contract to Jiangxi taking centre stage.

If upheld, the project will see tenants pay Sh920,000 per plot for the infrastructure, an amount that has been revised from Sh650,000. Mr Atwoli insists NSSF has no business laying the infrastructure.

“They were sold as unserviced plots according to the agreements in our possession. Such a plot does not require any service from the seller,” he said.

Questions raised

This contradicts last week’s statement by Mr Lang’at who said approval for the subdivision of the land to 5,500 plots in 2004 was granted by Nairobi City Council on condition that NSSF would develop the infrastructure.

Questions have also been raised whether pensioners will receive value for this investment.

It remains unclear what safeguards there are to ensure the full amount will be repaid by the plot owners and the money does not go down the drain.

In a letter sent to the Cabinet Secretary and the managing trustee, FKE sought a comprehensive presentation on the rationale, justification and viability of the project, which its Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo said were never provided.

The conflict has exposed NSSF as lacking consensus in its top echelons at a time when questions have been raised over its investments and returns for pensioners.