NLC in trouble over sale of school land
Published on: April 04, 2018 09:31 (EAT)
The National Land Commission is on the spot over a controversial Ksh. 3.2 billion payment to a private company for land owned by two schools in Nairobi. NLC Chair Mohammed Swazuri was on Tuesday under pressure to explain why 13.8 acres of land for Ruaraka High School and Drive-In Primary School has different owners. The Senate’s Public Investments Committee demanded to know why the ownership of the land changed twice before a down-payment of Ksh.1.5 billion shillings was made. Swazuri found himself in trouble when he appeared before the Mithika Linturi-led team that insisted the government was duped. “A private valuation indicates that the land cost Ksh.1.7 billion but you acquired it at Ksh. 3.2 billion. Are you being sincere?” Mr. Linturi posed. They questioned why the two schools have occupied the land since 1984 and yet three private firms are now claiming ownership. Joreth Company has maintained that it was the original owner and alleges that a contract with NLC makes it entitled to receive the compensation amount. The company has indicated that it transferred ownership to Afrisom Exports and Imports before the latter handed ownership to Whispering Palms, which finally received a down-payment of Ksh. 1.5 billion. “This land, who did it belong to before this three companies came into the picture and what explanation did you get as to why Joreth could not be paid?” the team asked. Mr. Swazuri defended the NLC saying: “The registered owner may assign someone else to be paid so they duly applied for the transfer”. The directors of the three companies involved, identified as Justine Mburu, Franklin Mburu and Mungai Mburu have since been fined by the Parliamentary committee for ignoring summons to appear on Tuesday alongside the NLC boss. “They must pay a fine of Ksh. 500,000 to the Senate Accounts Office and State agencies including the Inspector General should ensure that the three appear before this committee before April 17,” Mr. Linturi directed. He also rejected an apology by Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney for not appearing before them. The CS was said to have other engagements at Ardhi House and is now expected to appear before the committee on the same date. Interior CS Fred Matiang’i who sanctioned the acquisition during his tenure at the Lands Ministry has also been summoned.