Former NLC chairman Swazuri arrested over alleged graft

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Former NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri
Former NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri

Former National Land Commission boss Prof. Muhammad Swazuri has been arrested by EACC officials in connection with allegations of irregular payment of compensation by NLC to another party for land acquisition. Swazuri was arrested on Wednesday morning along with at least five other officials and business people in connection with the same.

According to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the irregular payment was made to Tornado Carriers Limited for acquisition of land in Mombasa. The DPP outlined that The Kenya National Highways Authority had requested the NLC to acquire land for the construction of Mombasa Southern bypass and Kipevu New Highway Container Terminal Link Road in October 2013. The NLC identified Tornado Carriers Limited’s parcel of land and a valuation was done.

The initial valuation in 2015 was Kshs 34,501,110 and an award was made to the said company which they rejected, prompting a second valuation. “The team returned a staggering Kshs 109,769,363.00 for the same parcel of land in January 2017,” read the DPP’s statement. KeNHA remitted the same amount to NLC, and NLC ended up paying M/s Tornado Carriers Ltd. Kshs 55,269,363 and C.W. Chege and Co. Advocates Kshs 54,500,000. EACC submitted an inquiry file to the DPP on 9th this month and the DPP has affirmed there is sufficient evidence therein to warrant prosecution.

The EACC said the suspects will be charged with conspiracy to commit an economic crime, abuse of office, financial misconduct, unlawful acquisition of public property, fraudulent acquisition of public property, dealing with suspect property, and money laundering.