8 June 2018

Kenya: Tatu City Project Hit By Another Complaint

The multibillion shilling Tatu City project has run into fresh trouble after a group of families from Githunguri, Kiambu County, laid claim to the land.

The families have petitioned the National Assembly to investigate and suggest a remedy to "an illegality and historical injustices" inflicted on them by the firm's majority shareholders.

On Thursday, the petitioners, who claimed to be shareholders in two companies that own 13,600 acres - part of which was allocated to Tatu City - held a demonstration at Kwa Maiko Trading Centre to get the government to address the issue and take appropriate measures.

They demanded, among other things, that any further activity on the land in question be stopped until the matter is determined and the appropriate legal action taken, saying it is the only way to ensure they get justice.

SHARESThey said they bought shares from the two companies - Tatu City Ltd and Kafinaf Company Ltd - in 2007 for Sh200 each, at the firms' invitation.

They said that they were made to believe that the shares would eventually allow them to own the land belonging to the companies, adding that nearly 1,000 families invested in the shares.

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Mr Wilfred Wanjiku Gitonga said the placement of the shares was however withdrawn for unclear reasons.

But the members were made to believe that a special purpose vehicle, a limited liability company, would be established, through which they could acquire land.

"I (we) have now learnt that some foreigners have taken over the two companies and are busy selling the land in total disregard of the interests of the local community that invested in the companies," Mr Gitonga, who has signed the petition that was delivered to the National Assembly Clerk on May 28, said.

LAND COSTMr Richard Karanja, who said he bought 500 shares, claimed that the majority shareholders have stopped recognising them, and have been plotting to kick them out.

"The directors have told us that we can take back the money we invested and let them control the land," he said, adding that the plot to kick them out started after the cost of the land in the area skyrocketed.

Mr Karanja said they want the companies to recognise them as shareholders and give them their benefits, and also sell the land at a fair price to allow the local community to buy some.

Addressing the protesters, area MP Gabriel Kago Mukuha promised to follow up the matter in Parliament, where the matter is expected to be interrogated by the Lands Committee, and also raise it with President Uhuru Kenyatta with a view to seeking justice for all parties.

"If the peasants bought shares in the companies to acquire land, they should get justice by getting what they invested in," he said.


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