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Sakaja fined half a million for repeatedly snubbing Senate Committee

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has been slapped with a hefty fine of Sh500,000 by the Senate Committee on Roads, Transportation, and Housing.

The decision was reached on Tuesday, November 28, after the governor failed to honour the committee’s summons for the sixth consecutive time.

Committee Chairperson Senator Karungo Thangwa ordered Governor Sakaja to personally pay the fine from his pocket, emphasising that it should not be sourced from the county’s funds.

Senator Thangwa declared, “The governor should cut short his foreign trip and appear in person before this committee on Thursday, November 30, 2023, at 11 am without fail.”

The governor, who was first invited to appear before the committee in November last year, has consistently ignored the summons over the past year.

Also read: ‘Kidnapped’ Sakaja aide Osman Khalif claims ‘brutal torture’ after resurfacing

On Thursday, he is expected to present himself with proof of his foreign travels, including a boarding pass, passport, and visa.

Senator Mohammed Chute raised concerns during Tuesday’s committee meeting, revealing that despite complaints from residents, the County was implementing a program on urban regeneration and renewal in old estates in Nairobi.

The Buxton Housing Project was cited as an example, where a developer was supposed to take 70 per cent, leaving the landowners with 30 per cent.

However, issues arose as developers failed to uphold their end of the agreement.

In June of this year, the Committee met with the chairpersons of residents’ associations, where it was disclosed that Ofafa Jericho, Jericho Lumumba, California, and Ofafa Maringo estates were among the 13 estates in the Eastlands area earmarked for redevelopment by the County Government.

Some of these estates were initially projects undertaken by the Israeli government in collaboration with the Kenyan Government.

Residents of the New Pumwani-California estate had submitted a petition to the County Government of Nairobi, seeking a change in the ownership status of the houses from Social Housing Units to a Tenant Purchase Scheme for mortgage payments.

Also read: Sakaja on the spot over ‘poor’ revenue collection

The committee requested several documents and clarifications from Governor Sakaja, including a copy of the agreement between the Israeli Government and the Government of Kenya for the construction of estates through a Tenant Purchase Scheme, a copy of Volume 1, 2, and 3 of the report on Urban Renewal Plan for Eastlands, Nairobi, and development control guidelines for Eastlands.

Additionally, the Committee sought clarification on the status of the response of the County Government to a petition by residents of the New Pumwani/California estate for the conversion of social housing units to a Tenant Purchase Scheme, the current ownership status of houses in the estates, a copy of title deeds for the parcels of land on which the estates are built, and the original plans for the development of the estates.