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Lands agency 'broke law by delegating duty to Kenya Railways'

NAIROBI: The Lands agency illegally delegated compensation of land owners affected by the standard gauge railway (SGR) project, MPs have said.

The National Assembly Lands Committee had summoned National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri to shed light on the formula used to compensate land owners.

The House team also wanted to know the acreage and status of the land previously owned by Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC).

NLC has put the total acreage for compensation at 4,595, translating to Sh26 billion. Dr Swazuri said NLC delegated compensation to KRC and did not furnish them with the list of beneficiaries.

“We delegated to ensure all those whose land form part of the 4,616.164 hectares benefit. We delegated because the commission lacked adequate staff to carry out the compensation exercise,” said Swazuri.

“It is unconstitutional that NLC decides to delegate the compensation to Kenya Railways, which is supposed to be a beneficiary. This is unconstitutional and we need to be told under which law an independent body can delegate its constitutional function to another,” said Paul Otuoma (Funyula).

Swazuri said the Sh26 billion set aside to compensate those affected by the multi-billion-shilling project is with KRC.

“How can KRC pay beneficiaries directly and its not their mandate?” Mr Otuoma asked.

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Swazuri said KRC is among the institutions whose land was being compulsorily acquired by NLC. He, however, did not say how much of KRC’s land was affected.

NLC Valuation and Taxation Director Salome Munubi said they delegated compensation to KRC because they were overwhelmed. Committee Chairman Alex Mwiru (Tharaka) directed NLC and KRC to appear before the committee on Thursday next week to clarify pending issues.

The MPs dismissed Swazuri’s report as shallow and unjustifiable.

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