In the intrigues of the National Lands Commission (NLC) saga of lands compensation there has emerged a new development adversely implicating the chairman Mohammed Swazuri.
A recent court battle has revealed the veracity of the matter involving a company named Altana Corporation Ltd and Clarence Matheny Leadership Training Institute (CMLTI).
In the suit, the company owned by Kisii based politician Zaheer Jhanda is seeking to be paid part of CMLTI’s land compensation acquired in Ngong for phase II SGR construction.
Altana owner Zaheer Jhanda. [IMAGE/ COURTESY]Altana claims that the money is part of payment for consultations entered into last year. However, our further investigations reveal otherwise.
An audio recording in our possession reveals otherwise. The conversation between CMLTI representatives and Altana representative reveals that the money, Ksh140 million could be part of a kickback Altana was soliciting on behalf of Swazuri so as to expedite the compensation.
In the audio, Altana representative promised to make sure that CMLTI’s compensation would be done within a week “or even tomorrow” if they took care of the teamthat approves payment of compensations.
The team is led by chairman Mohammed Swazuri, who has been a household name in scandals involving land compensation.
The agent is heard in the recording admitting that he is acting on behalf of Swazuri.
An ‘agreement’ was cleverly drawn through lawyers giving Altana 15.3 per cent of the Ksh914 million compensation of the property. The agreement required that Altana fast-racked valuation and compensation of the property, that involved 12.8 hectares and some buildings. This was in May last year.
However, In April, NLC had valued the property at Ksh914,349,740.
CMLTI therefore terminated the agreement with Altana on September 10, 2018, saying that Altana had not fulfilled its commitment.
CMLTI officials are also complaining that NLC officials were demanding a Ksh200 million bribe in order to expedite the payments, a claim that Kahawa Tungu could not confirm independently.
However, in the audio recording, Altana claims that the compensation team has the final word, saying that not even the president can overturn their decision. He even goes ahead to give examples of persons that they have frustrated for failing to comply with the ‘terms and conditions’, which entail parting with a certain amount.
Last year August, Swazuri, Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Atanas Maina and five others were arrested over dubious SGR compensations.
When DCI detectives combed his house, they recovered over Ksh17.8 million hidden under carpet.
They were accused of fake compensation claims, double payments, over payments, inflation of land values and payment of people whose land was never on the corridor was used to loot taxpayer’s money.
In an audit report, there were at least eight cases where beneficiaries who were paid Ksh1.7 billion appearing in the schedule could not be traced. They also listed 22 payments amounting to Ksh1.1 billion made to individuals with neither names nor national ID numbers.
In total, more than Ksh4 billion was lost.
What is more worrying is the absence of oversight that has created a fertile ground for theft. At one point, Kenya Railways bought land from itself.
Despite all this mess, Swazuri was allowed back to office. Days later, files that were to be used against him in court vanished, together with a laptop that contained crucial evidence.
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