National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri.PHOTO:COURTESY
National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri made decisions regarding compensation for those who gave up their land for the new railway unilaterally.
The National Assembly Lands committee is considering a petition by a Mr Mugo Njeru seeking Swazuri’s removal over claims he received bribes during compensation for land given up for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
MPs are looking into how Sh82 million was paid to Barkresh Grain Millers Ltd yet a technical team had recommended that the matter be put on hold.
Commission CEO Thomas Aziz Chavangi and finance director Francis Mugo said the chairman did not consult before making the decisions. The two confirmed the Sh825 million payout schedule by the director, valuation and taxation Salome Munubi forwarded by Dr Swazuri, included the Sh82million payment that had been contested.
However, Chavangi, who is also secretary to the commission, was unable to table minutes of previous meetings of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and committee of the review of grants and disposition report, which forms basis of payment.
He denied knowledge of the letter by Swazuri directing Munubi to issue an award letter and compensate Barkresh, instead of the rightful owners, Daimler Enterprise Ltd, where Njeru’s wife Editor Irima was a director.
“The chairman authorised the release of the Sh82 million, through a communication I forwarded to Mugo,” Chavangi told the Alex Mwiru (Tharaka)-led committee.
“Why did you authorise the payment of Sh82 million despite the complaints raised? Does it mean the chairman towers above all at the commission?” said Mwiru.
“There is so much work, I don’t attend all meetings. I have delegated some to directors,” Chavangi said.