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Kenya cemetery saga explained

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 9 – The Nairobi City Council (NCC) is now blaming a lack of proper planning for the inconsistency that resulted in the purchase of a cemetery plot at Mavoko.

The Director of City Planning Tom Odongo said that the steps followed during the procurement were defective.

The cemetery land was bought by the City Council at an inflated price of Sh283 million, above the estimated value of Sh24 million.

“The discrepancy that may have come out of the procurement of the cemetery is much on the procedures but not that the policy is not clear,” Mr Odongo stated.

“If you want land to use as a cemetery, we are clear on the soil profile, the kind of location that may be appropriate for that,” he added.

Mr Odongo stressed that City Hall will use all the manpower available and strictly follow procurement procedures to ensure such an incident does not recur.

“You can have a good policy but your procurement process is informed by a defective policy document. Any document should be worked out and the council should use its skills to make sure that the document being used to procure land for specialised purposes is done procedurally.”

The Local Government Permanent Secretary Sammy Kirui and 12 other officers implicated in the Mavoko land purchase have now been suspended and are due to face charges soon.

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President Mwai Kibaki directed that the interdicted officers and other collaborators including lawyers and agents be prosecuted for the serious fraud.  He also directed that the Sh259 million be recovered from them.

Other officers interdicted include former Town Clerk John Gakuo who was the Nairobi River Project Coordinator, Senior Deputy Secretary Reuben Rotich, Director of Procurement Boniface Misero and Chief Financial Officer Herman Chevera.

At the Treasury, the Director of Budget Paul Ngugi was suspended.

Others are Deputy Town Clerk Geoffrey Katsolleh, Director of Legal Affairs Mary Ng’ethe and the Director of Procurement Kanyi Njambura.

Also sent away were Karisa Iha, Alexander Musee, Daniel Nguku and Chief Internal Auditor I N. Ngacha.

A report by the Controller and Auditor General Anthony Gatumbu released to Parliament last week implicated the officers accusing them of overvaluing the proposed land.

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