NLC begins vetting process of individuals to be compensated for coal plant land

NLC chair Mohammad Swazuri outside lamu county offices. Swazuri has been arrested over fraudulent acquisition of SGR land PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: The National Lands Commission-NLC has began the process of vetting and approving names of landowners whose lands have been acquired for the establishment of the Sh.200 billion coal power plant in Lamu.

The list of 615 individuals will see the successful persons compensated in monetary terms for their lands.

The project is under the Amu power company and is to be set up at Kwasasi in Hindi,Lamu county.

Speaking shortly after unveiling the list of the 615 at the Lamu county lands offices in Mokowe on Friday,NLC chair Mohammad Swazuri the vetting exercise is to sieve out fake land owners who want to defraud the commission.

Swazuri insisted that the 615 names were too much and that he was positive that many of those enlisted were fraudsters who would be dealt with soon through the vetting process.

He said so far,investigations had established that 17 of the names were of ghost individuals who either didn’t exist or had no land at the coal plant site.

“We have printed all the 615 names of people who say they own land at the project site and want compensation. However as is the norm,we will subject each name to thorough scrutiny and vetting so that we only compensate valid land owners.we know there are so many ghost land owners and the vetting will help us deal with that,”said Swazuri.

The NLC chair said the exercise will be conducted in the next three days after which the approved list of names will then be handed over to a special committee that will oversee the compensation process.

Swazuri said an acre of land at the coal plant site shall be compensated for not less than Sh.800,000.

“Once the vetting is over,the names shall be handed to the committee that has members from the NLC,KPA,Ministry of Energy and county government for compensation. Thats is how fast the process shall be,” said Swazuri.

Lamu governor Issa Timamy however expressed his dissatisfaction over the Sh.800,000 per acre compensation and saying he had received numerous complaints from the affected persons saying the amount was too little.

“People have complained to me over the Sh.800,000 per acre compensation.they say it’s very little and I just hope that the commission will listen and reason it out with them so that at the end of it all everybody is happy and the disgruntled voices taken care of,”said Timamy.

A total of 975 acres of land have already been acquired for the establishment of the plant that’s expected to generate atleast 1,050 MW of power once complete.