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EACC goes after Lamu land grabbers

EACC Chairman Mumo Matemu said they were closing in on land grabbers. Photo/FILE

EACC Chairman Mumo Matemu said they were closing in on land grabbers. Photo/FILE

NAIROBI Kenya, Aug 4 – The Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) has now formed a special team to investigate the illegal allocations of land in Lamu County after a government audit uncovered 22 companies and organisations owning close to half a million acres of land there.

The commission’s chairperson Mumo Matemu however says the EACC had started its investigations two months ago before the audit report by the government was released.

Speaking to Capital FM News on Monday, Matemu said that the audit report will widen their already ongoing investigations.

“The team is working on the information that is available… we are taking action in line with our mandate so that we can isolate cases of corruption,” he stated. “The commission has visited Lamu on a programme that we call county advisory programme where part of discussion was the issue of land.”

During the advisory programme, counties sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the EACC on corruption preventive measures.

He also said that the commission will in a few months release a national anti-corruption survey that will expose many other cases of land grabbing across the country.

“Right across the country, matters relating to the corruption surrounding allocation of land are featuring quite prominently,” he said.

“This involves even where some of the county offices are sitting.”

He said the commission will work independently and any person found culpable will be dealt with as per the law.

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“We now have the complete audit and in addition to that we are widening the scope from the point of the intelligence we receive,” he pointed out.

“We have investigators and that is a far as we would like to mention.”

Siaya Senator James Orengo who was the Lands Minister between 2011-2012 when the grabbing is alleged to have taken place has defended the transactions.

He said on Sunday that the land was not grabbed as declared by the government adding anyone who was dissatisfied with the issue to consult the National Land Commission as they were issued legally.

He added that he would take legal action against people who are out to tarnish his image with the corruption allegations.

He made the remarks three days after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the revocation of the titles in Lamu which he claimed were grabbed between April 2011 and November 2012 despite a moratorium on public land.

On Monday, Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu said Raila Odinga’s faction of the Grand Coalition Government was in charge of LAPSSET (Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor) and should provide answers for whatever went wrong in Lamu.

“Did Raila know this was happening? Would he accept to do this? This is crazy… Did this happen under his watch? It is shameful if it happened under his watch. Did we give so much land to a few at the expense of the poor?” she wondered.

She was speaking in Mombasa during the closure of the land registry office for an audit.

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A section of Opposition leaders have alleged that the Lamu land purge is targeted at them.



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