Swazuri, ex-NLC officials arrested over Sh100mn land compensation fraud

April 17, 2019 8:29 am
Swazuri is among more than ten people who were arrested over the irregular payments to private individuals and entities amounting to Sh109.76million/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – Former National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri has been arrested over the irregular compensation for a parcel of land in Mombasa to construct the Southern Bypass and the Kipevu Terminal link road in October 2013.

Swazuri is among more than ten people who were arrested over the irregular payments to private individuals and entities amounting to Sh109.76million.

In an earlier statement, the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji ordered their arrest and charges against them including conspiracy to commit and economic crime, abuse of office and financial misconduct.

“The process of land acquisition commenced and the NLC identified Tornado Carriers parcel of land suitable for compulsory acquisition. The team returned a staggering Sh109.7 million for the same parcel of land in January 2017,” he said.

Haji further wanted them charged with unlawful acquisition of public property, fraudulent acquisition, dealing with suspect property and money laundering.

Among those being sought include a commissioner at NLC Emma Njogu, Deputy Director of Valuation and Taxation at NLC Joash Oindo, his wife Jane Wanjiku Gachigi and son Kevin, Director of Valuation and Taxation Dr Salome Munubi and her husband Sostaenah Ogero Taracha, Director of Finance Francis Mugo and lawyer Catherine Wanjiru Chege.

Others are businessman Samuel Rugongo, Michael Onyango Oloo and his wife Lilian Keverenge who is a secretary at NLC, Godfrey Muritu, Nazi Matabkhan, Shakil Khan, Evahmary Wachera, Francis Kibaru, Martha Wairimu, John Mwangi, Philip Kileiya, Albert Lessonet, Mary Wahu, Lorgis Logistics Ltd and Betha Wangithi.

According to Haji, the investigation relates to irregular payment of compensation by the Commission to Tornado Carriers Limited for compulsory acquisition for land in Mombasa.

The Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) had requested NLC to acquire land for the construction of Southern Bypass and Kipevu New Highway Container Terminal link road in October 2013.

Haji pointed out that a valuation was undertaken which showed the value of the land in 2015 was Sh34.5 million and an award was made to Tornado Carriers Limited for the sum which they rejected forcing Swazuri to order valuation department to undertake a fresh valuation.

Last year, Swazuri, Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Atanas Maina and five others were arrested over fraudulent compensations.

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