25 March 2019

Kenya: Odinga Wants Govt to Stop Nock Plaza Auction

Opposition leader Raila Odinga now wants the government to stop the intended auction of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) Plaza, whose construction has stalled.

Odinga noted with concern the continuing plans to sell the building in Nairobi's Upper Hill through public auction over monies owed to Sidian Bank.

Odinga noted that despite efforts by the government and leadership of Nock to find a way out, the building remains advertised for auction on April 5, 2019.

"I appeal to the Ministry of Sports to take hold of the Nock plaza and put a caveat on its intended auction until all options are explored and a solution that is in the best interest of the bank, tax payers, the sports fraternity and the nation is arrived at," said Odinga in a press statement released by his personal assistant, Dennis Onyango on Monday.

Odinga also appealed to Ministry of Sports to institute investigations into how Nock found itself in the current position with regard to the construction of its headquarters.

"Appropriate action must be taken in case of any improprieties," said Odinga.

Sidian, who were the main financier, have the building under the hammer in advertisements in Daily Nation of March 18 and March 25, 2019.

This is after Nock were unable to rescue its stalled construction of its Sh1.2 billion headquarters, Nock Plaza at Upper Hill, Nairobi.

Nock president Paul Tergat has since appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to help his team rescue Nock's planned headquarters from being auctioned.

"This is a public property that will help sports federations in Kenya and it will be a tragedy if we lose it cheaply," said Tergat on Tuesday last week.

"We have reached a point where only President Uhuru Kenyatta can help rescue the project by helping offset the loan, and funding its completion."

"We have approached several banks to take up the loan and several other organisations which fund projects but we have not been successful," said Tergat.

Tergat said that his team that took over at Nock 15 months ago, has laboured in vain to rescue the project that stalled three years ago.

Sidian Bank have vowed to go ahead with the auction through their agents, Regent Auctioneers if nothing will be forthcoming from the government and Nock.

It had been estimated that the construction of the building would cost an estimated Sh1.2 billion.

Sidian Bank was the main financier of the project, having put in Sh400 million as the first instalment of a planned Sh800 million loan package. Nock was to provide the remaining Sh400 million, but failed hence construction stopped as Sidian declined to put in their second instalment.

Nock took the loan from Sidian Bank in 2011, and construction of the building started the same year, only to stall in 2016.

In September last year, Nock formed a Building and Property Committee headed by Kenya Volleyball Federation president Waithaka Kioni to try and rescue the building.

Several proposals had been made including the government's bail-out plan, but Nock Secretary General Francis Mutuku disclosed that prospective buyers didn't make good offers.

When complete, the building is meant to host an Olympics Museum, offices for Nock's affiliates and those of the Ministry of Sports.

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