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Storm in House over Kazungu Kambi land team job

POLITICS
By Moses Nyamori | September 26th 2019

National Lands Commissioner nominated Kazungu Kambi during the vetting process before the National Assembly Lands Committee at County Hall, Nairobi on Thursday, September 19, 2019. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Some MPs yesterday stormed out of a committee meeting in protest over approval of ex-Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi to the National Lands Commission (NLC).

The meeting, convened to adopt the vetting report by the National Assembly’s Land Committee, ended in disarray after MPs engaged in a heated exchange with details indicating that at least three nominees to the commission could be rejected.

It has emerged that several MPs, a majority from the Coast region, have rejected approval of Kambi over his alleged involvement in a questionable bank loan that was charged on the title of Giriama Ranch in Kilifi.

But interviews with multiple sources in the committee revealed there could be more intrigues into the push to reject Kambi.

The Standard has established that some MPs had unsuccessfully pushed for the approval of former Isiolo Woman Representative Tayah Galgalo after Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) told the committee chaired by Kitui South MP Rachael Nyamai that she was not tax-compliant.

The former lawmaker had produced a compliance certificate which the taxman said was a forgery. The authority has since launched a probe to unearth how she obtained the fake certificate. But Galgalo had denied engaging in any fraud in obtaining the crucial document, saying the certificate was sent to her mail after applying through the e-portal.

It was after the committee rejected Galgalo that some of the MPs hatched a plot to have Kambi also rejected over the loan issue which is currently before the High Court.

The push to have Galgalo approved has also dragged another nominee, Gertrude Nduku Nguku, who has issues with her date of birth.

Some lawmakers also want her rejected after her national Identity Document indicated that she was born on January 1, 1966, while her other documents show she was born on July 11, 1966.

But Nduku told the committee that her actual date of birth is July 11, explaining an error could have been introduced in her ID when she replaced it.

“I was actually born on July 11, 1966. I lost my ID recently and just got this one. The dates were definitely a mistake,” she told the committee.

Yesterday, Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, a member of the committee, claimed Coast MPs are against Kambi over his involvement in the land.

Baya vowed that they will push for the rejection of the politician, arguing that the former minister has integrity issues thus should not be given a State job until he clears his name in the court case.

“There was a memorandum accusing him of using the title of the land to acquire a bank loan fraudulently. Some members of the committee said we should clear him since he has not been found guilty. But as Coast MPs we want to tell President Uhuru to get another nominee from the region,” said Baya.

He said they may be forced to propose amendments on the floor of the House should the other MPs proceed to adopt the report.

The committee had received a memorandum from Olga Sechero, Credit Manager of the Development Bank of Kenya, contesting suitability of Kambi.

In the petition, Sechero told the committee that Kambi obtained credit facility amounting to Sh250 million from the bank.

Kambi took the loan for a company associated with him in 2007 but ended up defaulting.

The lender later sought to auction the land to recover the money, triggering protest by locals.

“That Kambi obtained banking facilities from the Development Bank of Kenya Ltd for his company, Riva Oils Company Ltd, sometime in 2007 to the aggregated of Sh250 million,” reads the document.

Obtained charge

It adds: “That security for repayment of this debt, Kambi obtained a charge over LR No 12785 Kilifi commonly known as Giriama Ranch and gave his personal guarantee to pay the entire debt of Sh250 million with interest thereon.”

In his defence, Kambi had told the committee that the company is an independent entity that can sue or be sued.

He also told the MPs that he had paid Sh30 million as part of servicing the loan.

The committee has, however, approved Gershom Otachi, a nominee for the chairmanship and former Nyeri Town MP Esther Murugi, former Egerton Vice Chancellor James Tuitoek, Reginald Okumu, Hubbie Huseein Al-Haji and Alister Murimi Mutugi for commissioner positions. 

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