Leaders allege fraud in Sh6bn housing project

Buxton estate

One of the flats in Buxton estate that will be demolished under the proposed redevelopment of old estates within Mombasa County.  

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • He claimed Mr Suleiman Shahbal, who won the project tender, had a conflict of interest.
  • Mr Nassir said residents are not against the projects, but they want assurance that they will be given first priority in allocations.

Controversy over Governor Hassan Joho’s affordable housing project at Buxton Estate continues to rage, with rival politicians alleging fraud and underhand dealings in the Sh6 billion initiative.

On Sunday, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir joined leaders including Nyali MP Mohamed Ali, former Senator Hassan Omar, ward reps Charles Kitula (Freretown) and Faith Mwende (Kipevu) in criticising the project.

He claimed Mr Suleiman Shahbal, who won the project tender, had a conflict of interest.

“We want honesty. If you’re a developer and you want to do business with the county, there is something known as conflict of interest. What if you want to be a governor? What happens then? The committee led by its chairman came to my office and raised pertinent issues,” Mr Nassir said.

The leaders, who want the project suspended until it’s evaluated, warned financial institutions against financing it, terming it a fraud. The project is set to commence this year, with its groundbreaking slated for this month.

Mr Joho plans to rebuild the county’s dilapidated estates, targeting Likoni, Buxton and Changamwe. The county targets to build more than 30,000 houses on the next three-to-five years.

Mr Nassir said residents are not against the projects, but they want assurance that they will be given first priority in allocations.

Constitutional right

“They are worried. I support them to go to court because it’s their constitutional right.

“The issue of mortgage repayment is also a concern. Public participation is enacted in the Constitution. To date, I don’t know why people don’t want to engage the public on this matter,” the MP told residents.

He urged the developer, Mr Shahbal, to separate politics from business. He told Mr Shahbal to sit down with the aggrieved residents and address their grievances.

“The tenants want to know their fate. Development should never hurt residents. I’ll write a letter to the National Land Commission to intervene on this matter. But I urge you to be united. Further, you must continue paying your rent lest they find a loophole,” he cautioned the residents.

Mr Shahbal, who is also the Kenya Trade Network Agency  chairman,  said more than 500 residents will become homeowners through mortgage and tenant purchase.

Youth and sports

Buxton Tenants Welfare Group Chairman Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa said that, the more than 500 estate residents will be compensated.

The estate has about 500-plus units, but the investor intends to build over 1,900 units including pre-primary schools, hospitals, youth and sports centres.

 Mr Joho said the tenants will be given the first priority once the new houses are built.

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