Relief as Lamu residents receive compensation over LAPSSET project.

Relief as Lamu residents receive compensation over LAPSSET project.

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Lamu residents, whose land was acquired for the construction of a new port in the county, can eventually sigh with relief after government said on Monday that it had disbursed kshs. 860 million for their compensation.

Lamu Port and South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Chief executive Sylvester Kasuku said the money had been transferred directly to the accounts of the beneficiaries early Thursday through electronic transfer.

“I can confirm that finally Shs.860 Million has already been disbursed to the accounts of the various Project Affected Persons and the money was directly wired to individual accounts by EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) on Thursday morning,” Said Kasuku.

Kasuku said the funds were transferred by the National Lands Commission (NLC) after it received Shs.1.3 billion from the ministry of Transport and Infrastructure early this week.

He said all the money had been held by the Kenya Ports Authority awaiting the NLC to complete a verification exercise.

“There are small hitches though. There are some individuals whose bank account details are not clear and that is why we disbursed the shs.860 million to those whose accounts were okay. The NLC has assured us that they will resolve all that before the end of next week and the rest of the money will then be wired,” he said.

Local land owners had vowed to stall the port project, angry at the government for delayed compensation, but government had said it was verifying lists to ensure only bonafide beneficiaries got the money.

Lamu governor Issa Timamy said the payment would settle tension that was rising among locals.

“Let them (government) ensure all the hitches are resolved so that the remaining persons are also compensated soonest,” said Timamy.

A consortium of companies led by China Communications Construction Company won a 41 billion shillings contract in 2013 to build the first three berths at the Lamu port.

The port, expected to be completed in 2030, will have 32 berths with a capacity to handle 23 million tonnes of cargo per year.