Land owners ‘hampering’ power projects

Land compensation bureaucracies  have been blamed for the delayed completion of multi-billion-shilling transmission power line projects across the country.

Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) chief executive Fernandes Barasa said yesterday the company efforts to fast-track the work were being hampered by the “ludicrous” demands by landowners.

Barasa told the National Assembly’s Energy committee that way-leave compensation has been the main issue stalling the completion of the work in some areas.

Another area, he said, which delays the installations was the enactment of the Land Value Index bill, which is aimed at regulating value for land.

In essence, the bill seeks to harmonise the land compensation rule to speed up government infrastructure projects, was passed by the National Assembly last year and taken to the Senate.

The bill provides that in cases of compulsory acquisition, the national land valuer shall be called to assess the land with the National Land Commission (NLC) coming into negotiate the amount to be paid with the owners then gazette it.

This allows government projects to proceed as the landowners wait for compensation.  Currently, projects are forced to delay until all the compensation has been settled.

Special audit

Barasa told the committee that the 428km Loiyangalani-Suswa 400kV transmission line, which cost Sh28.9 billion, has been completed and now waits to be launched.

It took the intervention of the Auditor General Edward Ouko to undertake a special audit who came up with far-reaching findings which implicated the NLC to illegal compensations.

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