Senior officials at the National Land Commission (NLC) pocketed millions of shillings through kickbacks to facilitate payments for lands acquired to expand roads, the anti-graft agency has claimed.
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) alleges a conspiracy between NLC officials, landowners and some lawyers in which the commission would pay double for land and have half of the payment wired back to their accounts through proxies.
NLC had been tasked to acquire land for expansion of the Eastern By-pass, according to court papers.
EACC, through lawyer Jackie Kibogy, alleged that one company received nearly Sh110 million for a piece of land whose value was half the amount, and the extra amount wired to NLC officials.
“There is reasonable suspicion in view of the kickbacks to the NLC officials that the award of Sh109,769,363 was highly inflated and exposed the Government to grave risk of losing public funds through fraud,” said Kibogy.
Kibogy submitted that the details emerged during investigations into allegations of corruption and economic crimes touching on illegal payments made to NLC officials.
She stated that NLC compulsorily acquired the land from Tornado Carriers Limited at a cost of Sh109,769,363 and the money paid out in two tranches.
Although NLC stated they had acquired the land on behalf of Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) at a cost of Sh109,769,363, EACC claimed the company received only Sh55,269,363 which was later transferred to the accounts of its directors, Asia Akhtar Nazir Ahmed and Tarah Begun Khan.
“The remaining Sh54,500,000 was paid to the accounts of C.W Chege Advocates who then distributed the money to officials of the land’s commission by way of kickbacks for facilitating the inflated payment,” said Kibogy.
According to EACC, NLC’s senior officials were paid Sh14 million for facilitating the payment to Tornado Carriers Limited and its directors.
NLC’s acting Finance Director Benard Cherutich is said to have pocketed Sh7 million, Deputy Director in charge of Valuation and Taxation Joash Oindo Sh7 million, Secretary for Valuation Lilian Keverenge Sh3 million and Director for Valuation Salome Munubi Sh900,000.
To conceal their tracks, the officials allegedly used their proxies, relatives and their business entities to receive the money.
EACC claimed Munubi received the amount through her husband Sostenah Ogero Taracha, while Oindo is said to have received the amount through Sunshine Guest House owned by his wife Jane Wanjiku and son Kevin Oindo.
Cherutich is alleged to have received his share through his company Lorgis Logistics Ltd, while Keverenge is said to have received the kickback through her husband George Onyango Oloo.
EACC yesterday obtained orders freezing the accounts of Tornado Carriers Limited and its two directors.
Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi ruled that she was satisfied the commission had made a strong case to warrant preserving the accounts for six months pending determination of the suit.
“An order is hereby issued prohibiting the respondents whether by themselves or through their agents from withdrawing, transferring, disposing or in any way dealing with the funds held in their two accounts for a period of six months,” ruled Ngugi.
In another twist, the anti-corruption commission claimed the company had used the land to acquire Sh137 million loan from Imperial Bank, which NLC officials failed to take into account when issuing compensation to pave way for construction of the road.
Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.