NLC Chair Muhammad Swazuri, Education PS Kipsang to Be Charged Over Ksh3 Billion Ruaraka Land Scandal

  • Muhammad Swazuri, Chairman of the National Lands Commission (NLC) and Belio Kipsang, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education are among senior government officials expected to be charged over the Sh3 Billion Ruaraka scandal.

    The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has reportedly lined up 25 suspects to face various charges ranging from conspiracy and willful failure to breach of trust, money laundering, fraud, and abuse of office according to sources who spoke to Nation.

    Detectives have been looking into how the Ministry of Education released Ksh1.5 Billion as an initial payment to acquire a 13.5-acre piece of land that was, actually, already owned by the government.

    EACC disclosed that they forwarded the file to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji who seconded detectives to assist in filling unexplained gaps.

    Other top officials who could also have their day in court include Emma Muthoni Njogu, chair of the legal committee and Tom Koyimbih, who chaired the land acquisition and compensation committee meeting that took the decision to 'purchase' the land.

    [caption caption="Belio Kipsang, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education"][/caption]

    Salome Munubi, NLC director of Valuation and Taxation and Patrick Kanyuira, the deputy chief State Counsel in the office of the Attorney-General could also be charged in connection with the transaction.

    Interior CS Fred Matiang'i, who was in charge of the Education ministry at the time has already written a statement on the matter as has former Attorney General Githu Muigai who issued legal consent for the transaction to proceed.

    Githu, however, clarified that his was an advisory on how to carry out the transaction and not an approval.

    "The office of the Attorney-General issues advisories based on the information given. Such an advisory does not say we approve what you want to do — but we advise on procedures that ought to be followed,” he stated on Tuesday.

    After a complainant wrote to NLC claiming that two public schools were sitting on his land, the commission conducted an inquiry and established that the land on which the schools sat had been surrendered to the government as a condition imposed by the Commissioner of Lands on developers who wanted to set up an estate in the 1980's.

    The NLC then allegedly asked the ministry to deposit Sh3.3 billion in its account to facilitate the inexplicable compulsory acquisition.

    Kipsang is said to have liased with NLC, the AG's Chambers and the Treasury to process the payment.

    Swazuri has, however, remained adamant that they did nothing wrong as he claimed to have the title deed detectives reportedly believe is with a Nairobi law firm.

    "We have the title to the land. People out there are simply looking for faults and not facts,” he maintained.

    [caption caption="DPP Noordin Haji to whom files on the case have been forwarded by EACC"][/caption]