, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 16 – Siaya Senator James Orengo on Tuesday admitted that four firms were allocated land in Lamu County during his tenure at Ardhi House, but says he simply completed a process started long before he became Lands Minister.
He pointed out that the 22 companies mentioned as having illegally acquired the land had started the process in 1970s and he was involved in the concluding stage.
He claimed that the allocations were made to the Lamu community by previous regimes in efforts to deal with the shifta menace to “stop them from using it as changing areas for attacks against Kenya.”
“Out of 22 companies, we can now account for 10,” he stated.
Addressing journalists after a four-hour grilling session at the CID Headquarters – where he also recorded a statement – Orengo said four firms were allocated land under his watch but he did not explain whether it was per the law or not.
“Most of these allocations were done in the 70s. The only allocation done when I was a minister was work in progress which had been dealt with by previous ministers,” he stated.
“I am confident that the truth is going to come out. The politics of this issue will at some stage come to an end.”
He however declined to disclose which four firms got the land during his tenure and the acreage,
He expressed optimism that the matter will be resolved amicably but cautioned against a political witch-hunt.
CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro had indicated that they were interested in questioning Orengo to find out what he knew, and if he had anything to do with the grabbing of the Lamu land.
The National Land Commission at the weekend said it had confirmed that the land was illegally allocated to 22 firms and will start revoking the title deeds this week.
“Our preliminary investigations confirmed that the land in question was irregularly and illegally allocated. The Commission will move to Lamu on Monday to establish the situation on the ground. Thereafter, the commission will issue a revocation order in respect of the titles in a week’s time,” NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri said.
The Siaya Senator is facing investigations alongside his former Permanent Secretary Dorothy Angote.
Angote and former Lands Commissioner Zablon Mabea are also expected to record statements with the CID.
National Assembly Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo defended Orengo saying the matter was a problem even before his entry in the Lands Ministry.