Lands CS Kaimenyi to appear before committee

Lands Cabinet Secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi is this morning expected to give his opinion on the bid to remove Muhammad Swazuri as chairman of the National Land Commission.

Prof Kaimenyi has been invited to meet the National Assembly’s Lands Committee at 10 am.

Also invited Thursday morning are National Land Commission officials Brian Ikol, who is the director of legal affairs, and director of finance Francis Mugo.

Mr Ikol’s name has come up several times in the course of meetings with petitioner Mugo Njeru, Prof Swazuri and commissioners Abigael Mbagaya and Dr Tom Konyimbih.

Mr Ikol was reported to have been present in meetings presided over by Prof Swazuri at his office at which Mr Njeru said he was asked to agree to a settlement he did not like.

Abigael Mbagaya, the commission’s vice chairman told the committee that there were three claimants to the Sh83-million plot  and that the matter had been put in abeyance, but she had heard that the land had been paid for.

In the second case, where another plot was valued at Sh43 million, she said a letter signed by Prof Swazuri determining that the land belonged to Dasahe Investments Ltd “was not part of the deliberations of the commission.”

Asked what she thought of a second letter, also signed by Prof Swazuri, that the Sh86-million plot belonged to Bahkresa Grain Millers Ltd, she said: “What is the need of the plenary if the decision has been made already?”

Ms Mbagaya said there were formal procedures for Alternative Dispute Resolution in the commission and suggested they were not the sort of meetings Prof Swazuri would convene in his office.

Dr Konyimbih also disowned the decision favouring Bahkresa Grain Millers. “As the chairman of the land acquisition, valuation, compensation and taxation committee, I am not aware this money, Sh82.8 million has been paid to anybody,” he said.

The committee could however be forced to suspend its sittings if Parliament’s lawyers brief the MPs about the court order obtained by Prof Swazuri stopping the proceedings.

If it handles the matter the same way that the Finance Committee dealt with the order stopping its consideration of a petition against Auditor-General Edward Ouko, the committee will ask Speaker Justin Muturi for guidance on the matter.

Mr Muturi last week obeyed the court orders barring Parliament from handling the petition on Mr Ouko and asked Parliament’s lawyers to file an appeal against them.

On Wednesday, members of the committee led by chairman Alex Mwiru reacted badly to the issuance of the order, with Kieni MP Kanini Kega taking it as an affront to the committee.

“We knew you were going to do this with all the dillydallying. It is unfortunate that you are a member of the Judicial Service Commission and you go ahead and do this. Whether you hide under the table or wherever, we are going to get you,” said Mr Kega.

Prof Swazuri was later declared a hostile witness when he refused to hand over documents that he said he had in his possession and had been asked to bring in the afternoon.

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