Kenya risks losing buildings housing its embassies in at least 17 countries

Kenya is at risk of losing buildings housing foreign missions in 17 countries for lack of ownership documents, key among them being its chancery in London.

A report in the Star indicates Kenya is embroiled in an ownership row with the lessor of the London property at 45 Portland Place.

Details shared with the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee show the property is owned by Howard de Walden Estates and London Investments and Mortgage Company Ltd and they have already given Kenya an eviction notice at the expiry of the lease.

The 45-year lease reportedly expires on October 10, 2021.

“The Foreign Affairs ministry had to stop renovations after realising the country does not own the building,” the Star reported.

The other missions include Rome, Bujumbura, Juba, Stockholm, Islamabad, Paris, Kinshasa, Brussels, Riyadh, Beijing, Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Berlin, The Hague, Tokyo and New York.

The ownership of the High Commissioner’s residence on 78 Winnington Road is also rocked with controversy, as it is not clear whether Kenya consented to the change of agreement in May 1964.

The records relating to the missions abroad revealed that the government-owned properties in nine countries do not have original title deeds.

Further, properties in seven countries are documented in foreign languages that have never been interpreted, while the four others are registered in third parties’ names.

In Rome, the documents are in foreign language whereas a title is yet to be issued for the Bujumbura mission.

Juba is reportedly yet to issue titles while the documents of the Stockholm and Paris properties are in foreign languages, as is the case with Berlin, The Hague and Tokyo.

In Kinshasa, the original title deed was lost and documents are in foreign language, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says is not cause for alarm.

Kenya has no original title deed for its embassy in Brussels.

Nairobi does not have ownership documents for its mission in Riyadh because Saudi Arabia apparently does not issue title deeds.

Kenya also doesn’t have custody of its mission in Khartoum.

The same is the case of Beijing while that of Addis Ababa is in Amharic.

The revelations followed reports that Sh2.4 billion was spent on rent for embassies in 2016-17.

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