Kenya Railways pensioners raise alarm over KES 3.5B loss
25 May 2015, 21:57
Nairobi - The Kenya Railways Pensioners Association (KRPA) has raised alarm over loss of KES 3.5 billion through corrupt deals by the “unscrupulous” Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) board of trustee members.
The KRPA Secretary General, Robert Azaria representing 9 600 pensioners countrywide called on the Auditor General’s office to conduct an immediate forensic audit to ascertain the magnitude of money lost for recovery and board members involved in corruption brought to book.
Azania said fraudulent acts in the disposal of the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme (KRSBS) property such as land began under the new board of trustees after the unceremonious disbandment of the initial board that had crafted an appropriate five-year Strategic Plan to make the Scheme financially vibrant for pensioners’ benefit.
“This new board of trustees got involved in multiple corrupt practices which made the scheme lose a lot of revenue through unscrupulous disposal of its assets. The scheme has lost a total of KES 3.5 billion yet scheme members continue to wallow in extreme poverty as the lowest pensioner is paid KES 3 000 per month,” said Azania.
He claimed that the Scheme’s acquired prime property in Nairobi, particularly a 6.5 acreage land at Upper Hill area has been sold at a throwaway price of KES 262 million per acre yet an acre in the region costs over KES 500 million.
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“As a consequence, and due to old age and associated illness, the pensioners cannot afford proper medical attention. About 10 scheme members are dying every month and we demand a minimum monthly pay of KES 20 000 to pensioners since the scheme’s asset portfolio is currently estimated at KES 30 billion,” said Azania.
The Secretary General also revealed that they initially presented their complaints on misappropriation of the pensioners’ funds to the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) where it ordered for inspection into disposed off property and the report revealed that the scheme was marred with corruption, breach of trust, abuse of office, fraudulent property disposal among other malpractices.
Azania added that the new board of trustees should be reconstituted comprising of carefully chosen private sector experts in land, financial, insurance and pension management like the initial one because the current board does not even have the pensioners’ representatives.
KRPA further asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene in the matter because the Association’s efforts of seeking help from key relevant government ministries such as Labor Ministry among others has been unfruitful.
The Scheme’s acquired assets since 2006 when it was formed comprise 99% in land and buildings where KRC had to transfer 23 parcels of prime property across Nairobi city to cover accrued liabilities valued at KES 21.4 billion when it lacked liquid cash to fund the scheme.
Azania said the pensioners benefits should be addressed with urgency since the number is reducing drastically from the initial 12 500 members to the current 9 600.
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