Former Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed
The National Treasury has allocated Sh1.2 billion for the purchase of a permanent residence for Kenya’s ambassador in Geneva, Switzerland.
Budget report tabled in the National Assembly last week by the Treasury indicates that the government has set aside Sh1 billion for the purchase of chancery and ambassador’s house in Geneva and an additional Sh200 million for the year beginning July 2019.
Last year, Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had identified a suitable property situated in the posh resort city of Lake Geneva in Switzerland to house the envoy.
The ministry, which was then led by Ambassador Amina Mohamed, stated it would cost Sh6 billion to purchase the property, in a deal that was to be paid in installments. It is yet to be established whether Kenya opted to go for a cheaper property or the Sh1.2 billion to be spent in the next financial year is part of phased payment.
Apart from the purchase cost, Kenyan taxpayers will cough more cash for servicing and maintaining the facility in the long term.
However, the National Assembly has raised questions over the purchase of the facility, coming at a time when the country is facing more pressing national issues and also austerity measures.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has however insisted that purchasing the building is cheaper compared to renting properties in the country that hosts Europe’s UN headquarters and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Kenya’s diplomatic mission in Geneva has rented space for the last four decades, costing taxpayers about Sh4 billion, Foreign Affairs ministry officials said. Former Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohamed last year said Kenya was paying Sh140 million per year in rent in Geneva.