Taita Taveta chief probed over illegal Sh1.8 million grazing agreement

PHOTO:COURTESY

 

 

The Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) officers are investigating a chief and three members of a self-help group over alleged fraud.

According to County Commissioner Kula Hache, the administrator and members of the Kengecha Kishushe Self-Help Group purportedly signed an illegal lease agreement with herders from a pastoralist community to allow them graze thousands of their livestock at the privately-owned Kishushe Ranching Cooperative Society Ltd.

The county commissioner said yesterday the chief and the self-help group members were not shareholders of the vast ranch.

Ms Hache said the 10-year signed lease documents indicated the herders paid more than Sh1.8 million to graze livestock on the 48,000 acre-ranch without the authority of the management of the ranch.

It has not been established whether the money was paid to the administrator and members of the self-help group.

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Sources, however, told The Standard the money was deposited in a bank account and hurriedly withdrawn.

“The chief is aware of the issue as he witnessed the signing of the illegal lease agreement with the herders. He (chief) is not a member of the ranch,” she told The Standard.

Hache said once investigations establish that the administrator committed the offence, disciplinary action would be taken against him.

“As for now the matter is being handled by the officers,” she said.

Investigations came after the management of the ranch led by the chairman, Mwandawiro Mbele, complained to the security committee that illegal and armed herders had invaded the ranch.

The ranch officials said they had recorded a statement with the Wundanyi Police Station over the matter.

“I have recorded a statement at the DCI for action,” confirmed Mr Mbela.

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