NLC boss Swazuri and 6 others arrested over SGR compensations

NLC boss Muhammad Swazuri during a past parliamentary probe. [File, Standard]
National Land Commission chair Muhammad Swazuri, Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Atanas Maina and five others have been arrested over dubious Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) compensations.

The Saturday dawn arrests follows a go-ahead by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji who approved corruption charges against them.

“The DPP has consented to charges against National Land Commission (NLC) Chair Dr Swazuri and others in relation to SGR compensation,” the DPP said on Twitter.

The seven are due in Court on Monday.
Where it all begin

Whereas the specific charges against the seven has not been confirmed by Standard Digital, the payout has been subject to controversy after an audit revealed Kenyans lost more than Sh4 billion in intricate land compensation deals.

The report signed by Kenya Railways risk and audit manager Remmy Koech gives a peak into the lack of internal controls that gave NLC a free hand to spend public money without putting in place documents needed for accountability.

It further shows how fake compensation claims, double payments, over payments, inflation of land values and payment of people whose land was never on the corridor was used to loot taxpayer’s money.

Auditors also noted that there were at least eight cases where beneficiaries who were paid Sh1.7 billion appearing in the schedule could not be traced. They also listed 22 payments amounting to Sh1.1 billion made to individuals with neither names nor national ID numbers.

They found a ridiculous claim of Sh636 million on their own marshaling yard, which had been illegally subdivided into nine parcels, five of them appearing in the NLC compensation schedule.

More to follow.

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