Regular readers of the Kenya Forum will know that we have shone our spotlight before on Nairobi City Council (NCC), that bastion of sound administration, transparency, legality and financial rectitude. Yes, you are quire right, we are being truthful but sarcastic. The incompetent, thieving, corrupt b******* at City Hall and their thuggish workforce who prowl the streets of Nairobi have been in the news again.
LAND LEASES, REVENUE AND ‘IRREGULAR’ ALLOCATIONS
The Business Daily reported on its front page on Wednesday that, ‘City Hall has moved to protect one of its most important revenue sources by insisting that it will continue collecting land rates even after the existing leases expire’. “Dull” and “so what?” you may be thinking at this point but bear with us.
The NCC has in the past collected land rates in the city but the Cabinet has banned the renewal of public land leases until a land commission has been set up. Under the new Constitution the power to collect the rates is given to an independent agency, the Kenya National Land Commission (KNLC). The Cabinet’s move, according to the Business Daily, is ‘aimed at curbing irregular allocation of land which characterised the run-up to previous elections’.
Is the cabinet suggesting that the NCC was in any way involved with such ‘irregular’ allocations? You bet they are.
The problem for the NCC is that they get the largest proportion of their ill-gotten gains, sorry, revenue, from land rates, about Sh1.6 billion this year out of City Hall’s total estimated annual revenue of Sh14.8 billion in 2011/12 but the Cabinet’s decision could put a stop to all that.
The NCC hasn’t taken this lying down. Their illegal affairs department [shouldn’t that be legal affairs department? – Editor] have advised both individuals and firms to keep making the payments until the election.
THE NCC COURT – ‘DEN OF CORRUPTION’
Three cheers for the Standard on Saturday, says the Kenya Forum. Last weekend they ran an expose headlined, ‘Why City Council court is a den of corruption’.
The article catalogued one reporter’s (Kenfrey Kiberenge) experiences on just one day as he observed NCC ‘goons’ arresting people for ‘crimes ranging from spitting, alighting at undesignated bus stops, hawking and other misdemeanors’. Those who could pay a bribe of Sh1,000 or more were let go after being threatened that the judge would make them pay Sh10,000. Those that couldn’t, or who wanted to plead ‘Not guilty’, faced days in prison.
Those who end up in court can still pay “something fast” to avoid a larger fine, apparently with the connivance of court officials and as the Standard pointed out, arresting officers and lawyers are rarely in attendance at the proceedings.
The Standard’s editorial argued that the NCC and its ‘Inspectorate Department and City Court’ appear to have been bypassed in the judicial reforms that have been made since the adoption of the new constitution and that both need to be ‘overhauled to deliver justice’. Quite right, says the Kenya Forum.
‘GHOST’ WORKERS, PARKING FEES AND CORRUPTION
In November 2010 we reported on the 4,215 ‘ghost workers’ at the NCC (‘Spooky but true, the ghost workers of NCC…’), supposed City Hall employees who drew a salary but appeared not to actually exist. City Clerk Philip Kisia leapt into action and removed 15 of them from the payroll. He promised action but we still do not know what happened to the other 4,200.
Again in November 2010, the Forum reported (‘Nairobbing City Council’) on the NCC’s extortionate parking fees that were hiked by 114% to help pay for the 10,000 Council employees (that presumably still included up to 4,200 ‘ghost’ workers).
Parking fees account for the second largest section of income for the NCC, again about Sh1.6 billion per year. As the Forum highlighted in September 2011 (‘The story so far: Matatus, ‘Lynching’, the KCC and NCC…’), Council parking attendants were involved in wide scale bribery. Again we know of no real effort to stop this criminal activity by the NCC.
NO EXCUSES LEFT MR KISIA
The bribery, thuggery and corruption that are the day-to-day modus operandi of the NCC and many of its employees are an absolute and well-known scandal. Action should be taken this day to put a stop to it, says the Kenya Forum, and the grandstanding Town Clerk, Mr Philip Kisia, should consider his position if this is not done. There can be no more excuses.