DP Ruto’s Weston treated as special, saved from demolition in NLC deal with KCAA

Full details of rare privilege and deal that saved Weston Hotel from demolition

A file photo of Weston Hotel

Unlike other buildings erected on riparian and illegally acquired public land that came tumbling down, Weston hotel associated with Deputy President William Ruto will not be demolished despite standing on an illegally acquired public land.

Reports published in The Standard reveal that the National Land Commission(NLC) in a report dated 22 January, acknowledges that the hotel sits on 0.773 hectares of land belonging to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) but still gives it the rare privilege of paying up for developing an illegally acquired public land.

This is in sharp contrast to the fate that befell Taj Mall, Southend mall, Ukay Mall and part of Visa Oshwal all of which came tumbling down as state agencies moved in to demolish buildings erected on riparian and illegally acquired public land.

In the report, NLC pledges to regularize the Title Deed once Weston pays KCAA the current market price for the land.

The report signed by NLC vice chair Abigael Mbagaya reads in part that “Weston Hotel is required to pay the current market price of land to KCAA so as to enable it purchase land of equal value”.

Instead, the blame is placed on past officials at Lands ministry, unlike in other instances where state agencies moved in to reclaim illegally acquired public lands, tearing down any structures erected on them.

It details that the property was illegally acquired by Priority investmebts limited in 1998 at a grossly undervalued price with various attempts made to reclaim the land.

DP Ruto acquired the property in 2007 at a reportedly grossly underestimated price of Sh 10 Million through his Weston Hotel Limited where his wife Rachel Chebet Kimeto and daughter Charlene Chelagat Ruto are listed as directors.

Special treatmentraises eyebrows as a result of DP Ruto’s link to the hotel

What has raised eyebrows is the tratetment accorded to the hotel, a priviladge that other buildings that were recently demolished did not get despite going to court in pursuit of justice.

Most notable is Taj mall which was brought down even after the owner surrendered it, pleading with state agencies not to demolish it but instead convert it into a public facility.

It is not clear at this time what influenced the decision not to take decisive action as was the case with other buildings.

The Weston hotel saga has been a scar on Jubilee administration’s fight against corruption, with the DP defending his acquisition of the land on Lang’ata Road, saying he had bought it legitimately.

The hotel made headlines in 2015 after its attempts to grab part of Langata Road Primary school land were thwarted as activists teamed up with students at the school.

In what turned out to be a dark day in Kenya’s history, police descended on the pupils and activists, lobbing teargas canisters.

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