Ex-Lands Commissioner Wilson Gachanja arrested by EACC over Sh30m plot

EACC offices at Integrity Centre, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Former Commissioner of Lands Wilson Gachanja has been arrested by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for allegedly aiding in the illegal acquisition of public land by private developers in Kwale County.

Gachanja was arrested in a swoop alongside former Ministry of Lands physical planner Jabu Salim Mohamed and former coast region Lands Commissioner, Zablon Mabeya. They are set to appear in court in Mombasa County on June 21, 2022.

According to EACC, the three aided in grabbing a public access road, Kwale County, Diani/Beach Block/1072 - valued at Sh30 million.

‘‘EACC has this morning arrested Wilson Gachanja - Former Commissioner of Lands, Zablon Mabeya - Former, Senior Lands officer in charge of Coast Province and Jabu Salim Mohamed- Physical Planner in the Ministry for aiding grabbing of public land by private developers,’’ said Mbarak.

Commenting on the arrests, EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak said the names of two land officials have featured prominently in pleadings filed in court.

“Notably, Wilson Gachanja and Zablon Mabeya feature prominently in the various public land recovery suits that EACC has filed in court. EACC seeks to hold all persons involved in public land grabbing to account. More related investigations are underway” said Mbarak.

Mbarak noted that the ongoing investigations target the recovery of public land from more public officials.

“In addition to tracing and recovering public land that was illegally allocated to private developers, EACC seeks to hold all the public officials involved to account. Public officials hold office to serve public interest and as such, they should at all times desist from breaching the trust vested in them,” said Mbarak.

EACC has, on the other hand, moved to court to compel Ministry of Lands employee Nicholas Owino Ochiel to forfeit to the state properties and assets worth Sh1.2 billion which the Commission claims is not commensurate to his known sources of income.

Ochiel is said to have accumulated the Sh1.2 billion in wealth between January 2003 and November 2018 against his Sh6.3 million legitimate income for the 15-year period.