Ruto must pay for Weston Hotel land at current market value: NLC

DP William Ruto acknowledged on the BBC's HardTalk show that the Weston Hotel land was ...
DP William Ruto acknowledged on the BBC's HardTalk show that the Weston Hotel land was illegally acquired. Photos/COURTESY

Deputy President William Ruto must pay for the Weston Hotel land at current market value as he pursues the seller, the National Lands Commission has said.

Outgoing NLC vice chair Abigael Mbagaya said this will enable the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) buy land of similar size and value.

” If he wants, he can go after the people who sold it to him….that’s what we are doing…you return it because it’s you we have caught on the ground then you chase whoever else who sold it to you to recover your money,” Mbagaya said on Tuesday during Citizen TV’s Day Break Show.

According to Mbagaya, NLC has directed that a valuation be carried out on the land where the controversial hotel sits and a report will be shared with the public.

Mbagaya further denied claims that there was any political influence in the decision on how Weston Hotel should compensate KCAA.

“How can there be political influence when you are telling somebody to pay restitution to the people of Kenya?,” she posed.

This comes a week after DP Ruto acknowledged that the Weston Hotel land was illegally acquired.

Speaking on BBC’s Hard Talk show hosted by Stephen Sackur, the Deputy President said he “innocently” bought the land from its original owners.

Dr. Ruto however said that he is doing everything possible to ensure that the illegalities are corrected.

According to KCAA’s legal services manager, Cyril Wayong’o, the Weston Hotel land originally belonged to the East Africa Community which collapsed in 1977.

It had been developed and was being used as storage premises for the machinery and aviation equipment of the then Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA).

However, on June 29, 1999, then-Commissioner of Lands, Sammy Mwaita, wrote to the Directorate of Civil Aviation, indicating he had received an application from a church group that wanted to build a church on the site.

Lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi for the DP, told the national land commissioners that Dr. Ruto acquired the land in 2007 for Ksh.10million from Priority Management Ltd and Monene Investments Limited.

NLC, in its recommendations, said they could not verify if the process of land allocation was illegal as none of the parties had presented evidence before it.

The commission then confirmed that the controversial Weston land belonged to KCAA.

The tenure of the current NLC Commissioners ends on Tuesday having been in office for the last six years.

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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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