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New lands commission team gets Uhuru nod

RIFT VALLEY
By Geoffrey Mosoku | October 3rd 2019

The second National Land Commission (NLC) is now set to take office after President Uhuru Kenyatta formally appointed the nine-member team.

In a special Gazette notice, Uhuru appointed the team to be chaired by lawyer Gerishom Otachi for a non-renewable six-year term starting on October 2, 2019.

Former Isiolo Woman Rep Tiya Galgalo, former Minister Kazungu Kambi, former Nyeri Town MP Esther Murugi, former Egerton University Vice-Chancellor James Tuitoek, Reginald Okumu, Hubbie Huseein Al-Haji and Alister Murimi Mutugi will serve as commissioners.

The new NLC commissioners will take over from the Muhammad Swazuri-led team that vacated office in February this year following their term’s expiry.

On Tuesday, MPs overturned a House committee report that had rejected nomination of former Isiolo Woman Representative Tiya Galgalo to NLC.

The lawmakers successfully amended the report by the Lands Committee that recommended rejection of Galgalo on claims that she had evaded taxes.

The amendment was introduced by Isiolo North MP Hassan Odha and backed by most women MPs, including those allied to Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The lands committee, chaired by Kitui South MP Rachael Nyamai, had rejected Galgalo’s nomination after the taxman said she was not compliant.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) had put the former woman rep’s tax returns for the years 2017 and 2018 under investigation.

However, on Monday evening, just hours before the House could debate the report, KRA wrote to Parliament clearing her of any tax arrears.

A letter by Commissioner E Meyo of the Domestic Taxes Department, to the clerk of the National Assembly, indicated that Galgalo had since “fulfilled her tax obligation.”

Interestingly, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission had written to Parliament seeking recordings of the Lands Committee’s and documents that had been tabled to begin a probe against the Galgalo.

It was not immediately clear if EACC will still proceed with the probe following the presidential approval as reports indicated that Parliament had since complied with the request.

 

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