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I won’t be cowed, Matiang’i declares over Ruaraka land

Interior CS accuses senators of witch-hunt, malice for indicting him in acquisition of parcel hosting city schools

Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday said he will not be intimidated or blackmailed to shoulder blame in the Ruaraka land saga.

The CS blamed his woes on individuals he has denied tenders at the Interior ministry.

Speaking a day after the Senate indicted him  over Sh1.5 billion payout for the disputed land, Matiang’i said he was being targeted for “locking out cartels who used to control contracts” before he took over the docket.

Earlier yesterday, Matiang’i’s spokesperson Mwenda Njoka disagreed with the Senate on the Ruaraka land, saying the parcel is private property. He alleged political witch-hunt and malice by those accusing him of acting illegally in the land acquisition. 

Mwenda said no evidence had been produced to show the land in question was public property.

“The media should ask why Senate ignored a  court ruling which declared the land belonged to the claimant and should be paid Sh4 billion as compensation. Who carries more weight?” he asked.

Njoka argued that records in the Lands ministry showed that the land was private property. He accused senators of basing their findings on other unexplained factors other than the court ruling.

He also called out legislators for ignoring a legal opinion by the Attorney General that had advised the government that the land in question was private.

“It is sad that the whole investigation was marred with malice and politics. But the truth still stands that the land is privately owned,” said Njoka.

Ignored report

In a report tabled on Wednesday, Senate Public Accounts and Investment committee recommended that Matiang’i and Education Principal secretary Belio Kipsang take personal responsibility for the loss of Sh1.5 billion.

The committee also recommended that the two be probed with a view to prosecuting them for occasioning the loss in line with Article 226 (5) of the Constitution.

The two State officials were censured for ignoring recommendations of a report of quality assurance and standards assessment which established that the land on which Ruaraka High and Drive-In Primary schools sit on public land and went ahead with the acquisition of the land for the institutions.

“ The land on which the schools are built on is public utility land having been surrender by Drive-In Developers Ltd as a condition of approval of subdivisions for land Parcel LR No. 7879/4, a condition that was not subject to negotiation upon approval,” the reports read in part.

But yesterday, Matiang’i’s legal adviser Martin Oloo defended the CS, saying he has been misjudged.

“The facts on the status of Ruaraka land are in public domain and the government records, The registrar of titles confirms that Ruaraka Land LR No.7879/4 measuring 96 acres is a private freehold land in the name of Afrison Import Export and Huelands Limited as joint owners,” said the advocate.

Oloo said courts have on more than three occasions affirmed this position. He showed to the People Daily documents from National Land Commission (NLC) and Survey of Kenya, all showing that the contentious land is private and registered under Afrison Export and Import Ltd and Huelands, which are owned by businessman Francis Mburu.

Placed caveat

He said entries on the original title showed that conveyancing was conducted on December 30, 1981 when Joreth Ltd transferred the property to Mburu’s company for  Sh14 million.

On July 31, 1986, Drive-In estate Developers placed a caveat on the land, claiming mortgages interest by virtue of an agreement made  in writing and on September 1, 1986 Country Building Society also placed another caveat.

The caveat was, however,  withdrawn on  February 9,  1987, but a prohibitory order dated  August 11,  1994 was registered in civil suit No.1239 of 1993 in the Nairobi magistrates court.

Documents tabled by Oloo appear to be in tandem with those given out by NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri ,who has been insisting that the disputed parcel was private property.

Swazuri, who has been indicted by both the Senate and National Assembly committees, accused some individuals of allegedly trying to use the controversial land to remove him from office.

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