The government has so far paid a total of Sh38.85 billion to persons who were displaced during the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway.
This is according to documents tabled in Parliament by the Kenya Railways Corporation which said that the funds were disbursed to the affected families and individuals from the Railway Development Levy.
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Kenya Railways made the revelations while appearing before the National Assembly’s departmental Committee on Lands. The corporation argued that the process of paying and compensating those displaced and affected by the construction of the railway line, had been done over a period of time.
Kenya Railways was appearing before the committee chaired by North Mugirango MP Joash Nyamoko to respond to questions and concerns regarding the identification, verification and compensation process of those who had been affected by the construction of the railway line.
The committee had also sought to know the number of individuals who had so far received compensation from the construction of both the Meter Gauge Railway and the Standard Gauge Railways.
Specifically, the Committee members requested a comprehensive list of Project Affected Persons who benefited directly from the Railway Development Levy, without the involvement of the National Land Commission.
They also inquired about the due diligence conducted by the Corporation to ensure fair compensation for the Project Affected Persons who were paid directly.
And while making his presentation to the Committee, Kenya Railways Corporation managing director Philip Mainga argued that a total of Sh38.85 billion had already been disbursed from the Railways Development Levy for compensation.
The MD also provided the MPs with compensation schedules received from the National Land Commission.
He however clarified that Kenya Railways Corporation had not been directly involved in land valuation and identification of PAPs, as this is the role of the National Land Commission.
The Corporation relies on the Commission to identify the PAPs, conduct valuations, and subsequently disburses compensation funds to the Commission for distribution.
However, members of the Committee raised alarm about the verification and determination process of PAPs, with MPs seeking clarification on whether due diligence was performed by the Corporation before disbursing funds to the National Land Commission.
Mr Maingi appeared uncertain about the specifics of the process and stated that the Corporation writes to the National Land Commission to account for the funds remitted via the Railways Development Levy.
During the session, MPs were astonished to learn that Kenya Railways Corporation had Sh8 billion allocated for compensation, yet they had not been informed about the specific individuals or entities to whom the payments should be made.