Graft saga involving National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Muhamad Swazuri, Kenya Railways managing director Athanas Maina and 13 others has taken a new twist after crucial evidence disappeared from NLC offices.
The officers were in August charged with corruption involving Ksh221 million compensation for the Standard Gauge Railways project. Swazuri was released on a cash bail of Ksh3.5 million.
It is not yet clear whether is was a break-in or an inside job.
However, detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) downplayed the loss of the documents, saying that they were not sure whether the evidence lost was involved in the case.
“When we ask the NLC for record on a particular land transaction they always comply. It is too early to tell whether the documents that have gone missing relate to information that we shall need in future,” said Yasin Amaro, as quoted by a local daily.
Swazuri, Maina and others are being accused of irregularly compensating land owners in the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) phase, pocketing lumpsum amount of money meant for the project.
He was also allowed back to his office on grounds that the court cannot oust him from a constitutional office.
He was however granted limited access to the office, only after informing the Commission’s CEO and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
Trial Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi ruled that Swazuri can only access the office under supervision to avoid interference with prosecution witnesses.
However, other public officers charged alongside him were not allowed access their respective offices until the criminal case they are facing is heard and determined.
The Sunday incidence comes at a time when Ksh7.2 billion is set to be disbursed for land compensation of the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR phase.
In October, in another graft case involving Kenya Power bosses, a report on faulty transformers disappeared a day after case against firm bosses adjourned.
The data, which was stolen from the NLC’s Department of Valuation and Taxation, had no backup. This could cripple the cases facing the officers or affect the land registry.
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