Deputy President William Ruto’s Weston Hotel is built on public land but will not be demolished the National Land Commission said.
In a decision causing a storm between the NLC and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, the commission wants Ruto compelled to pay for the 0.773ha plot opposite Wilson Airport at the current market rate. Last year it was valued at Sh300 million.
But KCAA, which is Kenya’s air travel regulator, insists the four-star hotel should be torn down because it is compromising safety.
The authority says buildings near the airport should not be higher than two storeys but the Weston has five floors.
Ruto also failed to secure necessary approvals from KCAA.
It had wanted to build its headquarters there.
KCAA Corporation secretary Cyril Wayong’o confirmed to the Star that NLC had recommended that it be compensated.
He protested against the NLC decision, saying it will entrench impunity and revealed that the parastatal’s board of management will sit and consider an appeal.
“It will mean going forward that somebody can just grab public land and allege that he or she is an innocent purchaser, and thereafter decide to compensate, which is wrong,” he said.
The NLC conclusion that the parcel is public land is likely to put Ruto on the spot following years of denial and statements that he acquired the property legally.
In 2013, the High Court ordered Ruto to surrender a 100-acre farm in the Rift Valley and pay Sh5 million as compensation to the rightful owner, Adrian Muteshi.
During the Weston probe, Ruto’s lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi told NLC commissioners that the defunct Directorate of Civil Aviation had been given alternative land.
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