Kenya: Shahbal Duped Residents On Sh6 Billion Buxton Housing, Says Kisauni MP

Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo has accused Mombasa tycoon Suleiman Shahbal of duping residents about his multibillion-shilling modern housing project in Buxton estate, Mombasa.

Mr Mbogo claimed Mr Shahbal, who won a tender last year to build affordable houses worth Sh6 billion in Mombasa's city centre, does not have the money for the project.

Buxton Point Apartments Ltd proposes to build a gated residential community. The project on plot L.R No. Mombasa/XVII/625 and 985 includes 162 housing blocks, four multipurpose playfields, a multipurpose community centre, a wastewater pretreatment system and internal access roads.

"He said he had Sh6 billion. He demolished Buxton houses, paving the way for the construction, saying he wants to build modern affordable houses, but six months later even after evicting our people we are yet to see anything... there's no construction going on," Mr Mbogo said.

The MP, who is eyeing the governor's seat in next year's General Election, accused Mr Shahbal of duping tenants.

He said Mr Shahbal does not have the funds to build modern houses in Buxton.

"Later, he told the tenants to pay in advance so that he can construct the houses. Be wary, be very careful," he warned.

Bu Mr Shahbal said the accusations were baseless.

Speaking on a local radio station, Mr Shahbal said the project is on course and construction had begun.

"No one was told to pay for us to construct the houses," insisted Mr Shahbal, who has also expressed interest in the governor's seat on an ODM ticket.

Last year, Governor Hassan Joho endorsed the housing project, assuring current tenants that they would be given priority once the houses are built.

Under the project, more than 500 residents will become homeowners through mortgages and tenant purchases.

In March, the tenants received a Sh240,000 cheque each from the Mombasa County government to help them relocate from the houses and pave the way for building the apartments.

Mr Shahbal said Mombasa's outlook will change with this project, which he claimed will rejuvenate the port city and create employment.

The first phase of the project will take 12 months to complete, said Lands and Physical Planning Chief Officer June Mwajuma.

About 500 units in Buxton estate will be redesigned and redeveloped into 1,860 modern units.

The new complex will have a social centre, a clinic, playgrounds, and water, power and environmental controls.

Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga and the head of the Presidential Delivery Unit, Andrew Wakahiu, inspected the site and said it was the largest in Kenya.

The officials said the project is one of the many under public-private partnerships aimed at improving the living standards of residents and boosting the economy of the region.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was to officiate the groundbreaking ceremony on May 1 but the plans were shelved.

"The project will be a game changer in our county as it will provide job opportunities to our youths. When the construction starts, 750 jobs will be created directly and 3,000 others indirectly," he said.

Basketball courts, wedding halls, a nursery school, a medical centre, shops and other social amenities will also be put up in the area.

KCB Bank, Gulf Bank, Absa Bank and Housing Finance are among the financiers that have expressed interest in the housing project.

The master plan shows that the complex will comprise 600 three-bedroom, 700 two-bedroom and 600 one-bedroom houses.

The houses will be developed on 12 acres, where an avenue will also be laid out to connect the complex to Ronald Ngala Road and Narok Road.

Ten apartments will sit in each block and a green courtyard to "encourage community feeling" will be set up between every four blocks.

A one-bedroom house will sell for Sh1.8 million, a two-bedroom for Sh3 million and a three-bedroom for Sh4.2 million.

At least 1,900 families will own the houses through mortgages and tenant purchase arrangements.

watieno@ke.nationmedia.com

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