Swazuri is a one man show, says his own commissioners
Besieged National Land Commission boss Muhammad Swazuri’s troubles escalated yesterday after five of his commissioners disowned him regarding a controversial land transaction.
The commissioners said they became suspicious over compensation for land reserved for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) after the chairman decided to make unilateral decisions.
They said Swazuri ran a one man show and always failed to involve them in key decisions at the commission.
Abdikadir Sheriff, one of the commissioners revealed that most of the payments towards SGR compensation were done when the commissioners were out of office.
Speaking when they appeared before the departmental committee on lands probing a petition seeking Swazuri’s removal from office the commissioners said they were not provided with necessary correspondences.
“A lot of payments were done in December when most of us were away. I wrote to the CEO demanding a schedule of SGR payments from October to December. I also asked for copies of gazette notices regarding the parcels of land. I asked for those things to be provided to me within 7 days but they were not provided…as a commissioner I am very uncomfortable with what happened” said the commissioner
The NLC Chair is facing accusations of receiving bribes during compensation for land given up for construction of the Standard Gauge Railway.
The petition has been filed by Mugo Njeru, who accuses Swazuri of authorising payment of Sh 82 million to Bakresh Grain Millers, a Tanzanian company whose ownership of the piece of land the petitioner is disputing.
Documents tabled before the commission indicate that the piece of land was registered in the name of his wife, Editor Wairimu Mugo.
Although the commission was yet to make determination on whether the piece of land was sitting on railway reserve, the petitioner claims Swazuri went ahead to authorise payment.
Another commissioner, Silas Kinoti said there was no meeting during which the compensation was approved.
“There are no minutes reinstating the piece of land,” said the commissioner.
Lands Cabinet Secretary, Jacob Kaimenyi said that the Commission irregularly revoked the piece of land.
The CS told the House team that a notice of revocation was incomplete as it failed to give reasons for the revocation, contrary to practice.
“Despite the notice of acquisition. The same was revoked. The reasons for the revocation were not indicated. Ordinarily, they would,” said the CS.