Political leaders and financially stable occupiers of the former Waitiki Farm in Likoni will not benefit from the county government’s Sh1.25 billion fund set up to offset land rates for the 7,600 new owners, a senior official said on Thursday.
Spokesman Richard Chacha said the county government had embarked on a forensic audit of the new landowners to determine who would benefit from the money which the County Assembly recently authorised to be spent for the purpose.
Governor Hassan Joho, said Mr Chacha, had directed Land Executive Anthony Njaramba to establish a team to conduct studies of the beneficiaries.
“We expect the audit report to shed light on who has paid, who are paying in installments and who cannot pay at all,” said Mr Chacha, the County Director of Communications.
Saying that only those proven to be needy would be supported to pay the Sh182,000 fee, he added that well-to-do individuals owning plots at the controversial land would not be assisted by the county government.
Mr Chacha told the Daily Nation that they were yet to know the names or the number of plots the beneficiaries owned on the 780-acre parcel of land.
Although he could not rule out the possibility of MPs or MCAs owning land there, Mr Chacha told them to “kujipanga” (prepare themselves) to start paying the required fee because the county will not bail them out.
“What I can tell you is that the well-to-do landowners will not benefit from the county kitty,” said Mr Chacha.
This puts the likes of Timbwani MCA Tom Ogalo, who owns two plots at the farm, and other MCAs yet to declare their ownership in a tight spot on how they would pay their rates.
Asked why the Assembly rushed to pass the Sh1.25 billion vote without first conducting a study, Mr Chacha said the amount was subject to budgetary allocation for each fiscal year.
“This amount will be subject to monthly payments for a period of 23 years, so it is not the total figure passed that will be disbursed for the payout as being propagated,” he said.
The piecemeal pay-outs, according to him, would be tagged on the audit report’s finding on the ground of “genuine” and proven poor or low-income earners owning land on the farm.
But with recent disclosure that 3,200 beneficiaries have paid their fees in full and others were in various stages of monthly payments, Mr Chacha said this would be factored in before any pay-outs were authorised.
Asked when the audit team was supposed to complete its work, the official said they expected it to present its report to Governor Hassan Joho next week.
“We expect the team to conclude its work as quickly as possible so as to shed light on genuine needy cases to be assisted,” he said, adding that the team was working with the local community leaders and administrators.