Former NLC chair Swazuri, 10 others charged with corruption
SEE ALSO :Sh908m in land payments queried“This scandal is just the tip of fraudulent acquisition and irregular compensation of land compulsorily acquired through the NLC for various Government projects including the Standard Gauge Railway, expansion of roads and construction of by-passes,” swore EACC investigator Catherine Ngari. The transaction arose after the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) requested the NLC to acquire the land from Tornado Carriers Limited for the construction of the Southern By-pass and Kipevu New Highway Container Terminal link road in October 2013. Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said a valuation was done, and it showed the land’s value in 2015 was Sh34.5 million. But after the company rejected the offer, Dr Swazuri ordered for a fresh valuation. “The team returned a staggering figure of Sh109.7 million for the same parcel of land in January 2017,” said Mr Haji. On the strength of the second valuation, KeNHA remitted Sh109.7 million to the NLC. The commission paid Sh55.2 million to two directors of Tornado Carriers – Asia Akhtar Nazir Ahmed and Tarah Begun Khan.
SEE ALSO :Former NLC Chair Swazuri arrestedThe EACC said Munubi got her cut through Taracha while Oindo was paid through Sunside Guest House, which is managed by his wife and son. Part of kickback Cherutich is alleged to have received his share through his company, Lorgis Logistics Ltd, where he is a co-director with his wife. Keverenge is said to have gotten part of the kickback through Oloo, while the remainder was paid to an agent to pay for a property in Uhuru estate. The EACC was also said to be looking for lawyer Catherine Wanjiru Chege, businessman Samuel Rugongo, Godfrey Muritu, the two directors of Tornado Carriers, Evahmary Wachera, Francis Kibaru, Martha Wairimu, John Mwangi, Philip Kileiya, Albert Lessonet, Mercy Wahu and Betha Wangithi. Haji said the individuals would be charged with conspiracy to commit an economic crime, abuse of office, financial misconduct, unlawful acquisition of public property, dealing with suspect property and money laundering.
SEE ALSO :Web of shame in lost millionsThis is the second time Swazuri and senior NLC officials will be facing charges relating to inflation of costs for compensations. An audit report indicated that taxpayers had lost around Sh4 billion in the illegality. Evidence collected showed that fake compensation claims, double payments, over-payment, inflation of land values and payment of people whose land was never on the SGR corridor was used to loot taxpayers’ money. Following the arrests, crucial data that was key to the investigations is said to have disappeared after a break-in at the commission’s offices. Addition reporting by Paul Ogemba and Cyrus Ombati
Register to advertise your products & services on our classifieds website Digger.co.ke and enjoy one month subscription free of charge and 3 free ads on the Standard newspaper.