COUNTY GOVT ON THE SPOT FOR LACK OF PUBLIC HOUSING INVENTORY
The Embu County Government continues to suffer massive revenue losses for failure to document publicly owned residential flats, estates, market stalls and shops; the County Assembly has heard.
The startling revelations were made during debate on a Motion by Kiambere MCA Lenny Masters which indicated that the buildings had either illegally sold off or grabbed leaving the County without an inventory of tenants and a trace of the premises they occupy.
Ward Reps who contributed to the Motion moved on Masters’ behalf by Nominated MCA Jennifer Njimiah expressed concern that occupants of County Government houses had not been paying rent for the last 15 years due to lack of records about their existence.
Runyenjes Central MCA Edwin Kamuti stated that the County was at a loss because for the last decade, there was no rent register to inform legislators during the budget making process on how much revenue was projected from government houses.
In the same breath, Deputy Speaker Ibrahim Swaleh opined that the bulk of the houses which are situated in his Kirimari Ward sat on prime plots where the County Government could evict the illegal tenants, construct modern flats and sell off to prospective buyers instead of running at losses.
Nominated MCA Agnes Gakungugu dropped a bombshell by alleging that certain individuals at the defunct Local Authorities had sold public houses while the remaining were officially condemned and declared inhospitable due to years of dilapidation for lack of proper maintenance.
However, Majority Leader Peter Murithi (Mbeti North) was quick to point out that the Municipal and County Councils leased the houses and stalls to the current occupants for 99 years. He nonetheless complained that no land rates were paid to the county because of there was no record of tenancy.
While supporting the Motion, Minority Leader Ngari Mbaka said it was worrying that the County was unaware of what it owned and have illegal occupants living rent-free while there was a huge revenue gaps in subsequent annual budgets that needed to be plugged through such levies.
The Assembly has now directed the County Executive to provide information on all public estates and market stalls, names of tenants, location ownership documents and rent collected for the last two years within the next 30 days.
Ruguru-Ngandori MCA Muturi Mwombo who is the vice chairman of the Lands, Housing and Physical Planning Sectoral Committee pledged to expedite the matter and report back to the house within the stipulated timelines.