, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 25 – The National Land Commission (NLC) on Wednesday maintained that the disputed 13.5 acre parcel of land in Ruaraka at the center of an Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) probe is privately owned.
The land on which Ruaraka Secondary and Drive Inn Primary Schools are built has been at the centre of public debate in the recent past after it emerged the Ministry of Education had on January 16 paid Sh1.5 billion to a private entity as part of a Sh3.2 billion compensation for compulsory acquisition.
Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, NLC Chairperson Mohamed Swazuri said searches conducted at the Ministry of Lands had on three separate occasions confirmed that the land registered under title number LR 7879/4 was owned by Afrison Export Import Limited.
Documents seen by Capital FM News indicate that NLC approved the acquisition of the land in the interest of the two public schools on April 24, 2017. It was in this letter referenced NLC/VAL 1446 that NLC advised the Ministry of Education to set aside Sh3.2 billion for the acquisition.
According to Swazuri, Afrison’s Director – Francis Mburu – wrote to the Commission protesting the partial acquisition of the piece of land in 2015 after which correspondence the NLC intervened.
“This Commission was first seized of the matter in July 2015 where the registered owner of the land sought the NLC’s intervention. The complainant said he had complained the illegal occupation of his land for over thirty years,” he said.
Swazuri said the land had also been compulsorily acquired for other government projects including the construction of General Service Unit houses, Thika Road and Outer Ring.
“Records from the Ministry of Lands which we have clearly indicate that as of March 28, 1984, the registered owner of the parcel of land in question was Afrison Export Import Limited and Huelands Limited and that the owner had written objecting the conditional approval of the subdivision of the land by Nairobi City Council,” the NLC Chairperson noted.
Controversy over the ownership of the land where the two public schools sit deepened on Tuesday after Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the ministry does not have ownership documents.
“We do not have the ownership instruments neither does the school. It is a matter that has been followed even by the school principal for a long time but I would not want to say more to avoid jeopardising the investigation process,” she said while appearing before the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee.
The CS declined a request to shade more light into the deal saying that could jeopardize investigations even she tabled a taskforce report dated February 2 in which ministry officials advised against the compensation of Afrison on grounds that the land in question belongs to the public.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi who was in charge of the Education Ministry when the compulsory acquisition was approved has in the past insisted that due process was followed.
While Swazuri was issuing a clarification on the acquisition of the 13.5 acre parcel, Afrison’s Mburu moved to court seeking to stop the EACC from “questioning, harassing and intimidating him” over the property.
“The respondent has invaded my privacy by disclosing private facts of my bank accounts and particulars of the transaction of the land in question” he stated adding that the EACC investigations were being conducted in bad faith.
“The actions of the respondent are unlawful since ownership of the land has since been adjudicated upon by the courts,” he argued.