Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi yesterday told a Parliamentary committee that embattled National Lands Commission (NLC) chairman Muhammed Swazuri sold a piece of land belonging to the Kenya Railways Corporation (KR) land to fraudsters.
The CS told National Assembly Committee on Lands that Swazuri colluded with conmen to pay out Sh1 billion for a parcel of land owned by the Kenya Railways.
Kaimenyi said Swazuri knowingly and fraudulently paid the money to the individuals for land belonging to KR.
Yesterday, Kaimenyi confirmed to the committee that the documents used by the fraudsters to acquire the land had been forged.
“We can confirm that the individuals forged the documents to acquire the land which was paid for by the commission,” Kaimenyi told the committee hearing a petition seeking the removal of Swazuri for alleged abuse of the office.
Kenya Railways Chief Executive Athanas Maina disowned a statement by Swazuri that he had written to him seeking confirmation that the land did not belong to the corporation and hence was free for compensation.
“I have never issued any letter disowning the land in question. As a custodian of Kenya Railways properties, I cannot disown what is ours,” Maina told the committee.
Maina also told the committee that the corporation did not give the commission approval to pay compensation for the land.
And the petitioner, former journalist Mugo Njeru, found himself on the receiving end after the committee found out that documents he used to acquire the land had all been forged.
“You are not the owner of piece of land in question. You are a fraudster,” temporary committee chair George Oner told the petitioner.
Land Secretary Kang’ethe Kahuho told the committee that the ministry was investigating all documents used to acquire the land and how they made their way into the ministry’s official records.
Director of Physical Planning Augustine Masinde told the committee that his office was not aware of the origin of the Part Development Plan (PDP) used by the allotees to acquire the land.
Asked why the ministry issued title deeds to the beneficiaries knowing that the land was fraudulently acquired, Kaimenyi said the relations between his office and the commission had been frosty, hence most of what was happening could not be explained.
“It has not been easy to deal with the NLC because of the so called independence. They do things their own way,” Kaimenyi said.
When they appeared before the committee, NLC commissioners accused Swazuri of sanctioning payment of Sh82.3 million for land, claimed by Mugo, to another party.
Commissioners Silas Kinoti, Emma Muthoni Njogu, Rose Musyoka, Samuel Tororei and Abdikadir Kalifh said the commission did not approve the payments at its full plenary.
They said Swazuri went ahead and authorised the payments, knowing that the committee on grants and dispositions had not finalised investigations into the ownership of LR 15100 and LR 9084.
The commissioners said they were yet to see a letter that Swazuri wrote to KR, authorising payments for the piece of land.
The commissioners said, for any ratification to be made, five members of the commission must be present.
“At any one time a decision is to be made by a subcommittee of the commission, there must be three commissioners,” Njogu told the committee.