Nairobi, KENYA: National Land Commission chairman Mohammed Swazuri, Kenya Railways corporation MD Atanas Maina have been arrested over the fraudulent acquisition of public property.
This is after the director of public prosecution Nordin Hajji gave a directive for their arrest on Saturday morning.”The DPP has sanctioned to charges against National land commission (NLC) chair Dr Swazuri and others in relation to SGR”, said the DPP on twitter.
Though specific charges against the seven is yet to be established, the DPP hinted that the arrest was linked to a controversy after an audit that revealed more than sh 4 billion was lost in fraudulent compensation of the Standard Gauge Railway land.
“ Further ,NLC officials fully cognisant of that fact proceeded to irregulary and illegally award and compensate the entities and persons in whose favour the fraudulent registration has beeb done .Regretabbly KRC who is the custodian of railway reserve actively participated in the entire process of compensation undertaken for and on their behalf by the NLC” the DPP said in a statement.
A report by Kenya Railways risks and audit manager Remmy koech gives an indication of internal control that gave NLC a free hand to spend public money without putting In place required document for accountability.
It further explains they used tactics such as fake compensation claims, double payment, inflation of land values and compensation to people whose land did not fall under the railway reserve to steal taxpayers monies.
The auditor also noted that there were at least eight cases where beneficiaries who were paid sh.1.7 billion appearing in schedule could not be traced. They also listed 22payments amounting to 1.1 billion made to individuals with neither names nor national ID numbers.
Investigations on the matter began after a family in Miritini petitioned the DPP to investigate Swazuri and the Kenya Railways MD to investigate over the compulsory acquisition of a piece of land in the area.
Others who the DPP has recommended prosecuted include Salome Munubi, director Valuation and Taxation Committee, NLC
Tom Chavangi, The NLC CEO, Francis Mugo, director of Finance and administration, NLC, Victor Kariuki, land surveyor, KRC,Elijah Nyamu, assistant land surveyor, KRC ,John Mwaniki, senior land surveyor Lands ministry ,Caroline Kituyi, registrar of files, Lands ministry, Peter Mburu, registrar Lands ministry ,Gladys Munyanga, principal land registration officer, Lands Ministry
Additional reporting and editing by Janet Murikira