Pensioners at the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) have welcomed the decision by real estate company Erdemann Properties to withdraw a land ownership suit and have arbitration as an alternative method to settle dispute.
Erdemann Property Limited has offered to seek an out of court settlement as an alternative method to solve the dispute which has been unsolved for over 10 years.
” We are very happy and we feel relieved after a long-protractedcourt battle which has lasted in court for many years.
We are looking forward to more fruitful deliberations.” Pensioner John Ndege said.
Ndege further said that the move by Erdemann Property Limited to withdraw its claim of Sh 26 Billion that they had lodged in court after a tender dispute was geared towards helping pensioners whose lives had been seriously affected.
He also called on all affected pensioners to beoptimistic as the move could be a light at the end of the tunnel that would bring to an end the sufferings of the Pensioners.
The two, have been embroiled in a court battle since 2009 after Kenya Railways Corporation KRC and Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefit Scheme KRSRBS with each claiming ownership of parcels of land in Makongenj Estate, Nairobi Railways Club, Kindaruma road and Kenya Railways Golf Club.
The dispute arose after Kenya Railways Corporation(KRC) and Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefit Scheme (KRSRBS) started selling land that the real Estate company had tendered and won and was ready to put in an investment of over Sh 40 Billion together with its partners.
In 2012, High Court Judge Eric Ogolla reduced theinjuncted properties to four from the over twenty that had been injuncted byJustice Alfred Mabeya.
On May 2020, Kenya RailwaysCorporation retirees urged the government to intervene and ensure their monthly pension is paid.
John Mwangi, who led a group of retirees lamented how the difficulties they were undergoing when the government stopped paying them their pensions.
“When the government could not continue paying us, it transferred some of the properties owned by KRC to the scheme,” Mwangi said.
But the scheme was only able to make Sh24 million monthly against pensions amounting to Sh73 million for 10,000 members.
Since then, Mwangi said the scheme has not been able to break even and has been defaulting on their payments for months.
This, he said, is even after selling some of the properties and renting out commercial buildings.
“The scheme has not been able to liquefy its assets to pay our dues, and we are unable to follow up and find out what’s happening,” he said.
But Ndege says the move by the Real Estate firm to offer an Olive branch has given the Pensioners a sigh of relief.
The scheme’s board comprises three government appointees, three appointees of KRC and three members, he said, a structure which does not serve the pensioners.
The retirees wanted a small amount of their pension paid every month rather than wait for one year.