Portland Cement, Kenya Railways to audit Machakos SGR land invaded by squatters

East Africa Portland Cemet Company

A view of East Africa Portland Cement Company. The company and KRC are set to conduct a land size audit on a 900-acre land in Machakos.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The East Africa Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) and the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) are set to conduct a fresh survey of the acreage of a controversial parcel of land set aside for the standard gauge railway (SGR).

The 900-acre parcel in the Athi plains, Machakos county was acquired by the National Land Commission in 2014 on behalf of the railway firm for construction of the Nairobi-Mombasa SGR but portions of it have since been invaded by squatters.

“The project abuts some other land parcels and the two entities would want to establish the exact acreages in use under the SGR Corridor,” the cement firm said in a tender call for a surveyor.

Portland said the land would be re-surveyed to determine the exact acreage under use on the SGR corridor and re-establish the boundaries of the piece, and road reserve.

“Carryout topographical survey to determine the extent of the SGR corridor, verify gazettement of the actual acquired SGR corridor acreage as per the land acquisition plan, and advise the company on any other emerging issues if any, and mitigation mechanism,” EAPPC said in a brief on the upcoming survey that will also entail processing the title deed for SGR corridor.

Lands Principal Secretary Nixon Korir told a Parliamentary committee in July that the State was keen on repossessing all portions of the 900-acre parcel, which had been invaded by about 2,000 squatters.

The contentious parcel known as LR 10424 was bought by KRC for Sh5.2 billion for development of a bulk container terminal and trans-shipment facility. KRC has so far paid Sh4.95 billion for it.

Over the last five years, some settlers have been locked in a court fight with the cement manufacturer over the land. Already squatters are in court in a bid to block KRC from taking over the land.

The EAPPC said another three parcels of land-LR. 8784/144,145&653- would be disposed of as part of a turnaround strategy to offload idle assets such as fully-mined land to address a liquidity crunch.

The company in July last year appointment a survey firm, M/S Geoner Systems Limited to map out and subdivide the parcels marked for disposal.

“The service provider has carried out assessments or surveys and developed a combined survey plan for the three parcels including obtaining relevant approvals from concerned authorities. The exercise proceeded smoothly until it was temporally stopped. However, the process has been given a green light to proceed by the government,” EAPPC said.

“Given that regularisation process is currently ongoing, the committee handling the regularisation opined the need for an independent surveyor to provide a second opinion in terms of validating the works on the ground, providing advisory, mitigating the existing gaps in conformity with the contract of the service provider and the governing rules and regulations with the relevant authorities,” it added.