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NLC’s Swazuri accused of paying fictitious compensation

National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri. (Photo: Courtesy)


National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri. (Photo: Courtesy)

A parliamentary committee Tuesday heard that besieged National Lands Commission chairman paid for Government owned land.

The committee was told that Muhammad Swazuri made the payments ostensibly to pave way for the Standard Gauge Railway construction.

During hearing of the petition before National Assembly Lands Committee seeking the removal of Swazuri, it emerged NLC may have paid private individuals for land owned by Kenya Railways.

“Why did NLC pay compensation for government owned land? The lands along the area under dispute belong to the Government,” questioned George Oner (Rangwe).

The petitioner further alleged that Swazuri authorised the payments without consulting Kenya Railways.

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“Why did the chairman authorise payment without consulting KRC, which is the acquiring entity?” argued the petitioner.

The committee heard testimony from Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi (Lands), Lands Secretary Kangethe Kahuho and KRC Chief Executive Officer Athanas Maina.

Initially, Prof Kaimenyi informed the committee that one petitioner’s, Mugo Njeru’s, two plots, which are at the centre of the investigations, were genuine. But when hard pressed by the MPs, he retracted. The CS asked for 45 minutes time out, only to return and confirm to the committee that all the documents used by the individuals to acquire the land were forged.

“We can confirm that the individuals forged the documents to acquire the land which was paid out by the commission,” said the CS.

Kenya Railways chief executive officer disowned a statement by Swazuri that he had written to him saying the land in question, paid Sh82 million, did not belong to the corporation and hence qualified for compensation.

“I have never issued any letter disowning the land in question. As a custodian of KRC properties, I cannot disown what is rightly ours. The corporation did not give the NLC approval to pay for the land in question,” Maina told the MPs.

At this point, the MPs tasked Mr Njeru to explain how he acquired the documents.

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