Kakamega council to sell some of its houses
KAKAMEGA mayor Matias Sichere has said the Municipal Council of Kakamega will sell part of its housing estate to settle a Sh22 million loan it owes the National Housing Corporation. The council has been struggling to repay the corporation the loan arising from construction of units for close to four decades to take ownership of the 36 housing units at Otiende estate. They were constructed by the corporation on loan in the early 1970s.
The corporation took over management of the houses in the 1990s after the council defaulted remitting loan repayments and has been collecting rent from the tenants occupying the houses to recover money owed by the council. “We have already discussed with the corporation and agreed that we survey 10 of the units and carry out valuation after which the corporation will pay the council the difference after deducting its loan to finish this thing once and for all,” Sichere said.
He said survey of the units to be disposed off is already underway before a meeting scheduled between the two parties to settle the matter. The mayor was addressing a meeting of housing cooperative members during the launch of three housing co-operative societies at the Town Hall yesterday. Housing minister Soita Shitanda, who was the chief guest gave certificates of registration to Masingo, Amalemba and Al Karim Slums Housing Co-operatives.
The arrival of private surveyors at Otiende estate to start work caused panic among occupants of the houses who expressed fears that the houses may have been sold to private developers without their knowledge. The tenants rushed to the council on Thursday last week to seek explanation of what was happening. They were assured by town clerk Newton Mukabwe that all is well and the surveyors are working for the council.
Yesterday, Sichere said the Sh22 million debt is accumulated interest and penalties for irregular remittances by the council. “The debt was about six million and and what the council has paid to date is in excess of the figures but interest and penalties still haunt us,” he said. He said retaking ownership of the houses will improve the council's revenue base and service delivery.