Ex NLC Chairman Swazuri, others due in court over Sh100mn fraud

Former National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri is due in court on Thursday 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 was arrested on Wednesday by detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) over the irregular payments to private individuals and entities amounting to Sh109.76 million.

They spent the night in police cells ahead of their arraignment and EACC detectives are hunting more of those still at large to take plea.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji ordered their arrest and charges against them including conspiracy to commit and economic crime, abuse of office and financial misconduct.

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

Among those wanted include a former 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 Salome Munubi and her husband Sostaenah Ogero Taracha, director of finance Francis Mugo and lawyer Cathrene Wanjiru Chege.

Others are suspended Chief Executive Officer Tom Chavangi, businessman Samuel Rugongo, Michael Onyango Oloo and his wife Lilian Keverenge who is a secretary at NLC, Godfrey Muritu, directors of Tornado Carriers Limited Nazi Matabkhan and Shakil Khan, Evahmary Wachera, Francis Kibaru, Martha Wairimu, John Mwangi, Philip Kileiya, Albert Lessonet, Mercy Wahu, Lorgis Logistics Ltd and Betha Wangithi.

The probe relates to irregular payment of compensation by NLC to Tornado Carriers Limited for compulsory acquisition for the land.

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.

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.

The team returned a staggering figure of Sh109.7 million for the same parcel of land in January 2017.

KeNHA remitted to NLC Sh109.7 million and the commission paid Tornado Carriers Limited Sh55.2 million and the advocate Sh54.5 million.

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