9 August 2018

Kenya: Fred Matiang'i and Belio Kipsang in Ruaraka Land Trouble

The ghosts of the controversial acquisition of the Ruaraka land have landed at the doorstep of the Interior CS Fred Matiang'i after a committee of the Senate indicted him over the sale of the land on which sit two public schools and has recommended that the CS should be held responsible, investigated and, if found culpable, prosecuted over the loss of Sh1.5 billion.

The County Public Accounts and Investments Committee (CPAIC) further wants Dr Matiang'i and Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang held responsible for not following due diligence in the acquisition of the land and ignoring the recommendations of a Quality Assurance and Standards Assessment which had established that the space on which Ruaraka High and Drive Inn Primary schools stand is public land.

Others in the crosshairs of the committee over the sale of the land include the National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Muhammad Swazuri, his vice chair Abigael Mukolwe, Commissioner Tom Konyimbih, CEO Tom Chavangi, and the Director of Valuation and Taxation Salome Munubi.

CARRY OUT INVESTIGATIONS

In its report that contains the findings of the investigations, CPAIC has asked the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to carry out investigations in the next three months on the circumstances that caused Dr Matiangi, then serving as Education CS, and Dr Kipsang to ignore the recommendations of the Quality Assurance and Standards Assessment Report.

"The then education CS and Dr Kipsang should be held responsible and further be investigated and if found culpable be prosecuted for occasioning the loss of Sh1.5 billion in line with article 226 (5) of the Constitution," the report, which was tabled yesterday, states in part.

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Dr Matiangi, who was transferred to the Ministry of Interior when President Uhuru Kenyatta reshuffled his Cabinet in January this year, formally wrote a request for compulsory acquisition of the land to NLC after the commission informed the ministry of an alleged complaint.

SUB DIVISION

A Quality Assurance and Standard Assessment was formed to verify the existence of national government institutions, namely the Ruaraka Primary and High Schools, Drive Inn Primary and any other school by the name of Ruaraka, establish the circumstances under which the institutions were put up, and proof of ownership of land on which the schools were built.

The team conducted its probe and forwarded its report to the PS, State Department of Basic Education, Ministry of Education on February 3, 2017.

It established the land on which the two schools were situated is a public land having been surrendered by Drive Inn Estate Developers Ltd as a condition for approval for the sub division and development of LR No 7879/4.

The team recommended that Mr Paul Omondi Mbago, the receiver and liquidator in whose hands the title deed was, should release the school land documents, the CS Education and the chairman of NLC to hasten the processing of the ownership documents of the school land to protect it from grabbing and encroachment, and that having surrendered a portion of the land for the public utility, the claimant of the land had no basis to ask for compensation.

ACQUIRE LAND

However, it accuses Dr Matiangi, Dr Kipsang and the Ministry of Education for having ignored the recommendations in making the decision to acquire the land.

The committee, which is chaired by Homa Bay senator Moses Kajwang, has further described the payment of the Sh1.5 billion compensation as fraudulent and recommends that the DCI, DPP and EACC recover the money from Afrison Export Import Ltd, Whispering Palms Estate Ltd and Huelands Ltd.

It further wants NLC to compel the person having the possession of the title to land parcel LR No 7879/4 to surrender it to the registrar of Government Land, and that no further payment be done in respect of the land.

PROTECT STUDENTS

"The Ministry of Education should protect students, pupils and teachers of Ruaraka High and Drive Inn Primary schools from harassment," the report says.

The committee further wants the investigation and prosecution of the directors of the Whispering Palms Estate, Afrison Export Import and Huelands Ltd for making fraudulent claim on the ownership of the land, thereby occasioning the tax payer a loss of Sh1.5 billion and causing the payment to Whispering Palms Estate without a duly executed deed of indemnity.

The committee also wants the EACC and DCI to investigate why the Ministry of Lands failed to conclude the issuance of title deeds to the two schools and register government interest on the land before 2012.

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