NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 26 – The National Land Commission (NLC) says due diligence was followed in the acquisition of the controversial Ruaraka land and payment of Sh1.5 billion.
Through a statement, the Commission’s Chairman Muhammad Swazuri stated that NLC conducted a number of searches at various times confirming that the land was freehold and had no encumbrances.
Swazuri stated that the body further undertook a ground status inspection and survey to establish the actual situation on the land and a report compiled.
“The Commission did not pay compensation for public land as it had been established authoritatively that the land in question has been and still is private land under a freehold grant. The Commission further obtained survey plans from the Director of Surveys and confirmed that no subdivision had been successfully undertaken and authenticated on the parcel up to today. Hence there was no surrender of any portion of this land for public utility,” he stated.
“An allotment letter dated 28th June 1999 purportedly issued by office of the Commissioner of Lands done in favour of Ruaraka High School bore no reference to any plan. An allocation of public land cannot subsist over and above an existing freehold title concurrently which invalidates the allotment letter,” he said.
He indicated that the Commission operated within the law and expressed confidence that justice had been served.
The National Assembly Committee on Land had recommended that Swazuri be investigated even as the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) recommended the prosecution of 25 officials over the saga.
The anti graft body had been investigating how the government paid – Afrison Import Export Ltd and Huelands Ltd – for compulsory acquisition of the land.
Whispering Palms Estate Ltd a nominee of Afrison and Huelands was on January 29 paid Sh1.5 billion by the National Lands Commission as compensation for the land also claimed by the two schools, built in 1984 and 1987 respectively.
The Nairobi County Government had told the committee that the land belongs to the two schools while the Ministry of Lands said it belongs to the public.
The private firms have mounted a vigorous claim over the parcel of land, demanding a further Sh1.7 billion as balance from the government for the purchase sum of Sh3.2 billion.