Kibwari tea estate saga: Nandi Governor Stephen Sang arrested after surrendering self to police

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang when he addressed a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday, February 05 2019. [David Njaaga,Standard]

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang has been whisked away by the police after presenting him to police in Kapsabet to record a statement.

The police took him to Kisumu Central Police Station to record a statement over the tea plantation row.

He was being sought for uprooting tea belonging to Kibwari Estate on Friday.

Earlier in the day the Governor had denied that police were looking for him.

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He told reporters at his county offices on Monday morning that the uprooting of the tea was lawful and had the blessings of the National Land Commission.

Sang said that the county had a raft of cases against Kibwari estate and after inviting the NLC over the planned repossession, the commission had cleared him to do so since the land in question was public property.

He said that his government was planning to build 2,000 houses on the land as part of an agreement with National Government under the banner of affordable housing.

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He accused the cartels which did not name of grabbing public property, saying that residents of Ketchem-Kapteng area in Nandi Hills fundraised to buy the land on which the tea was grown for a cattle dip and that some of them had sold cattle to build the cattle dip only for it be demolished by the tea estate.

He had said that he was ready to record statement with the DCI and maintained that he was innocent.

"If they want me to record a Statement, let them know that I am ready and I was just following the law," he had said.

According to Governor Sang, the land in question was given to the residents by the white settlers for the construction of Kaburet Cattle Dip. And said that the land was later grabbed in 2003 by people s county government had legal documents to show the land was public property that had to be surrendered.

 Governor Sang defiantly said he was committed to repossessing all grabbed county property.

“I cannot build a cattle dip on tea plantations. They have to be removed," he said.

On Saturday, Nandi County Police Commander Thomas Ngeiywa said that they were looking for the governor to explain destruction of the mature tea bushes.

"We are looking for the governor who was at the tea estate on Friday evening and part of yesterday where an acre of mature tea was destroyed," Ngeiywa told Sunday Standard.

On the same day, Allan Kosgey, a director at Kibwari visited the area and slammed the governor for destruction of tea saying he should have waited for the conclusion of pending cases in the High Court in Eldoret and Nairobi.

Sang says a court application by Kibwari estate to bar the county government’s officials entry into the farm was quashed by the court, rendering his action legal.

Meanwhile, Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter has lashed at Governor Sang saying two wrongs do not make a right.

Though acknowledging that there could be historical injustices committed as the governor had alleged, the legislator faulted the county boss for taking the law into his hands.

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Nandi GovernorStephen SangKibwari EstateArrested