The Kenya Airports Authority is seeking Ksh 5 billion to compensate about 1,800 families living on land earmarked for the expansion of the Malindi International Airport.
Airport Manager Mohamed Karama said a consultant hired to carry out an environmental impact assessment and a relocation action plan on the land, had concluded the work and the report is awaiting approval by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).
Speaking Thursday when members of the Kilifi County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee toured the facility, Mr. Karama called for the fast-tracking of the compensation process as more squatters were carrying out developments on the earmarked land, a factor that could force the government to pay more.
“The land earmarked for the project is private but has been invaded by hundreds of squatters who are rapidly constructing buildings in anticipation for compensation. Since the land is private, KAA cannot do anything to stop the squatters,” he said.
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He said the government had already spent Ksh1.1 billion to compensate squatters in phase one of the project where KAA acquired about 25 hectares of land and negotiations are ongoing to acquire more land belonging to the Kenya Ports Authority, which will also require about Sh300 million to compensate squatters.
The state corporation is currently seeking more land to the north of the facility to extend the main runway from the current 1.4 kilometers to 2.5 kilometers to enable large aircraft to land at the air facility.
Asked why the government was compensating people who do not own the land, Mr. Karama said a court pronounced that the squatters had to be paid for the developments they had put on the land, including the KAA’s own land.
Members of the CDICC, who were led by Kilifi North Deputy County Commissioner Patrick Mutisya concurred with the manager that there was need to fast-track the compensation process in order to embark on the actual expansion of the facility.
Mutisya said the more the delay in compensation, the more the value of the land was appreciating, and asked NEMA to quickly dispense with the report so that the National Land Commission can start the process of compensating the squatters.
He also called on KAA and the County Government of Kilifi to sensitize residents on the need to stop further development of the project land since the evaluation had already been done and those who would construct any more buildings would not be compensated.