Kenya: EACC Probes Lawyer Cecil Miller in Sh252 Million Deal

22 January 2020

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating city lawyer Cecil Miller over claims he was irregularly paid Sh252.12 million by the National Land Commission (NLC) as compensation for a parcel of land in Nairobi.

The EACC investigators are also looking at what could be a possible conflict of interest.

The 0.12-hectare parcel, LR 18549, is among the 120 sampled properties compulsorily acquired by the NLC on behalf of the government for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) phase 2A corridor that the EACC has been investigating.

CITY HALL

Mr Miller is one of the lawyers who acts for Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, whose administration was central in approving the land for payment. Mr Sonko is currently barred from accessing his City Hall office until a corruption case against him is heard and determined.

The EACC findings show that NLC, then chaired by Prof Muhammad Swazuri, acquired the whole land measuring 0.12 hectares as opposed to the gazetted area of 0.05 hectares while the affected area of the land was 0.032 hectares.

Together with improvements, NLC valued the land at Sh241.2 million as indicated in its valuation report but an award certificate bearing Sh252.12 million was given to Mr Cecil Guyana Miller on January 8, 2019.

This means that the award is higher than the amount in the valuation report by Sh10.9 million in what the NLC has not been able to explain.

VALUERS

A multi-agency team of valuers and surveyors appointed by the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya from the EACC, Kenya Railways Corporation and the private sector, valued the property at Sh18.34 million -- the amount that should have been paid by the NLC.

In its findings, EACC says there is an overvaluation of Sh233.8 million for the piece.

The EACC says the perimeter wall and car park encroached on the riparian reserve by 4.53 metres to 10 metres and was not to be compensated. But the NLC decided to pay for the riparian land, meaning that the government "bought its own land".

The EACC also discovered that Silanga stream, a tributary of Mbagathi River, was diverted from its original channel to a different one so as not raise doubts on the possibility of encroachment on riparian land.

The city government approved the riparian area for compensation, according to the EACC.

VALUATION SCHEDULE

On July 10, 2019, EACC chief executive officer Twalib Mbarak informed NLC acting boss Ms Kabale Tache of the huge variations identified in 14 parcels of land, including the LR 18549, and requested that further probe be undertaken.

"EACC has now finalised valuations of sampled 120 properties on the SGR phase 2A corridor. The multi-agency team of valuers and surveyors observed huge variances in the values adopted by NLC," Mr Mbarak says in the letter.

Mr Twalib further informed Ms Tache that the valuation schedule will be forwarded to NLC for action in line with its mandate and as advised by Solicitor-General Ken Ogeto in his advisory letter of April 17, 2019.

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