National Lands Commission commissioner Emma Muthoni Njogu when she appeared before the National Assembly Lands Committee
Nairobi: The embattled chairman of the National Land Commission (NLC) got into more trouble Monday after fellow commissioners disowned him. The commissioners said they were not involved in suspicious transactions regarding compensation for land reserved for the standard gauge railway (SGR).
They said Dr Muhammad Swazuri ran a one-man show at the commission and that they were kept out of some of the key decisions.
Abdikadir Sheriff, one of the commissioners, claimed that most of the payments for SGR compensation were done when the commissioners were away and that they were not provided with the necessary correspondence.
“A lot of payments were done in December when most of us were away. I wrote to the CEO demanding a schedule of SGR payments from October to December. I also asked for copies of gazette notices regarding the parcels of land. I asked for those things to be provided to me within seven days but they were not provided…as a commissioner, I am very uncomfortable with what happened,” Sheriff told the National Assembly Lands Committee.
Swazuri is facing accusations of receiving bribes for compensation for land surrendered for the railway project.
The petition has been filed by Mugo Njeru, who accused Mr Swazuri of authorising payment of Sh82 million to Bakresh Grain Millers, a Tanzanian company whose ownership of the piece of land the petitioner is disputing.
Documents tabled before the commission indicate that the piece of land was registered in the name of his wife, Irima Mugo.
Although the commission was yet to make a determination on whether the piece of land was sitting on a railway reserve, the petitioner claims Swazuri went ahead to authorise payment.
Another commissioner, Silas Kinoti, said there was no meeting to determmine that the disputed piece of land belonged to an SGR reserve.
“There are no minutes reinstating the piece of land,” said the commissioner.