18 July 2018

Kenya: Sonko to Appear Before Senate Committee Over Ruaraka Land Saga

Nairobi — Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is on Wednesday expected to appear before the Senate's County Public Accounts Committee over the controversial Ruaraka Land saga.

Sonko will be tasked by the lawmakers to explain how City Hall arrived at a decision that the land where Ruaraka Secondary School and Drive Inn Primary are located is a public land.

City Hall in a previous session with another parliamentary committee claimed the ownership of the 13.5 acre piece of land that is at the center stage of Sh3.2 billion compensation package to a private businessman.

According to the County's Land Executive Charles Kerich, the land is entirely public land and the payments made to businessman Francis Mburu are erroneous.

Mburu has already been paid Sh1.5 billion pending a balance of Sh1.7 billion.

Since the beginning of the probe on the matter, different stakeholders including the Ministries of Land, Education, Interior and the Lands Commission have given conflicting reports on the matter that has ignited public interest.

The Chairperson of the National Land Commission Mohammad Swazuri whose been accused of initiating the irregular payments has in the past categorically stated that the land is a private land.

In a past media briefing, Swazuri claimed that due diligence was followed in instituting the payment process.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has since stopped the pending payment of Sh1.7 billion until all the queries raised are answered.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney in her submissions to National Assembly's Land Committee said the two schools risk being evicted after investigations disclosed that the institutions were built on private land.

She noted that allotment letter issued to the school 34 years ago was irregular and that the claims made by the two schools were insincere.

According to Karoney, Hueland and Afrison Import Export Ltd were the legal and rightful owners of the 96-acre piece of land, where among other government entities the two schools have occupied 13.7 acres.

The two companies are owned by businessman Mburu.

During his appearance before one of the probes by the Lands Committee, the businessman said he was ready to refund the paid Sh1.5 billion on condition the two schools will vacate the land.

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