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Crisis looms as Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu recalls NLC staff

COUNTIES
By Cyrus Ombati | October 8th 2014
 

A crisis is brewing at the National Land Commission (NLC) after Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu recalled more than 100 ministry employees who had been seconded there.

The workers were ordered to report back to the ministry on Monday, reportedly stalling operations at the commission.

“It has now been decided that you be re-deployed to the ministry with immediate effect. You are, therefore, required to report to the acting secretary for Lands for assignment of duties,” said a letter signed by J W Gitu on behalf of Ngilu.

The letter referred the employees to the one on deployment dated April 4, 2013, in which they were seconded to the commission, reminding them they had been receiving their salaries and other benefits from the ministry’s payroll.

NLC Chairman Muhammad Swazuri said the directive was not in good faith because they were yet to employ staff who would replace those recalled.

"We are surprised by this move at a time when we are handling a huge task at large. We are, however, recruiting to fill the positions," said Swazuri.

Other staff there said there was a crisis and most operations had ground to a halt following Ngilu’s move. This comes when the commission is yet to complete its probe into the controversial allocation of 22 parcels of land in Lamu County.

UNDER PROBE

The land, whose titles are under probe, was allocated to individuals and firms. The parcel was for the Lamu Port and South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor project.

It also happened when NLC had recommended a fresh survey and re-establishment of boundaries for Mombasa, Eldoret and Cherangany State Lodges land.

The commission had said preliminary investigations established that parts of State House and/or Lodges have been hived off and sold illegally to individual entities and companies.

State House had complained to NLC that land belonging to State Lodges had been grabbed or illegally allocated to individuals. This prompted the probe into the matter.

Ngilu and the commission have been at loggerheads over the management of land issues. NLC has lodged a case at the Supreme Court for an opinion on its mandates and those of the minister.

This development is the latest in a stand-off between Ngilu and Swazuri over who should be in charge of many crucial matters in the docket. Experts say the ongoing conflict between the Lands ministry and NLC was causing huge economic losses.

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