Swazuri refuses to respond to bribery claims

National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri has failed to respond to bribery allegations, even after a closed-door meeting with commissioners.

Journalists were locked out of the meeting that lasted for almost three hours at the ACK Gardens Annex in Nairobi on Friday.

After the meeting, the bodyguards of Dr Swazuri whisked him away and blocked journalists from taking pictures.

Journalists’ efforts to get details of the meeting from the commissioners were futile as none of them was willing to address them.

The meeting came amid an investigation into bribery claims against Dr Swazuri and what appears to be a split among commissioners.

READ: I gave Swazuri a Sh1m bribe, man tells MPs

Earlier, the commission’s deputy Abigael Mbagaya denied the meeting was called to discuss the chairman’s conduct, saying it would discuss “normal operations”.

“No, this is not a crisis meeting. Where did you get that information from? You know the commission sits regularly to determine matters that are in our mandate and that is what we are doing today,” she said.

The chairman was in March accused of soliciting a bribe and trying to defraud former journalist Mugo Njeru in a land case.

Mr Njeru filed a petition in Parliament seeking the removal of the commissioner as chairman, which led to Dr Swazuri being questioned by MPs over the same.

Mr Njeru, however, downplayed the suggestion that it was a bribe, telling members of the National Assembly’s Lands Committee that he was coerced into the deal.

The chairman, however, described the petition as malicious when he met MPs and then moved to court to try and stop them from investigating him.

The committee has denied receiving orders to stop the investigation.

Five members of the commission last Monday disowned decisions signed off by Dr Swazuri, with one saying it was common for the chairman to make decisions without consulting them.

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