WORKING HARMONIOUSLY

Arero dismisses claims of division in NLC

CEO says there is no fight between chairperson, commissioners

In Summary
  • A statement by the acting CEO Kabale Arero affirmed that there is no fight between chairperson Gershom Otachi and other commissioners.  
  • She said the commissioners were working harmoniously but blamed a few individuals who are hostile to the commission’s operations and cohesion for propagating falsehoods. 
National Lands Commission chairman Gershom Otachi before National Assembly Lands committee on September 19, 2019
National Lands Commission chairman Gershom Otachi before National Assembly Lands committee on September 19, 2019
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

National Lands Commission has dismissed claims that it has been rocked by division over multi-million shillings payouts for various infrastructure projects being undertaken by the government.

A statement by the acting CEO Kabale Arero affirmed that there is no fight between chairperson Gershom Otachi and other commissioners.  

She said the commissioners were working harmoniously but blamed a few individuals who are hostile to the commission’s operations and cohesion for propagating falsehoods. 

The acting CEO said some individuals were unhappy that the commission had sealed loopholes that could have been exploited to siphon public funds. 

In order to eliminate fraud and misappropriation of public funds especially in land acquisition, Arero said the commission has adopted a multi-agency approach involving various arms of government including investigative agencies.

The Ag. CEO confirmed that through the “One  Government” approach, the commission successfully executed payments of land compensation amounting to nearly Sh17 billion for the Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway phase II.

Arero said the commission has further instituted rigorous processes of checks in the accurate valuation of compulsorily acquired lands, and through inquiries determined the authenticities of all claims of proprietorship and the speedy and accurate resolutions of disputes.

The rigorous process of checks and accurate valuations, she said, has not gone down well with some individuals. 

"In Eldoret bypass project for example, Sh600 million was saved by a thorough deciphering exercise, while Sh3 billion more was saved in Athi River-Machakos turn off where a  significant change in design at interchanges where deemed necessary," she said.

A further Sh600 million was also saved in Karimenu phase 1. More savings were also realised in the redevelopment of the James Gichuru junction – Rironi Road project.

The commission said active consultations between the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, and representatives of the project affected persons led to the eventual resolution of the Karimenu phase 1 impasse and laid a firm foundation for all subsequent land acquisitions for the project.

"This ensures the speedy conclusion of the land acquisition process, and the acceptance of assessed compensation awards by the project affected persons," the commission said.

Arero added that the commission has further instituted rigorous processes of checks in the accurate valuation of compulsorily acquired lands, and through inquiries determined the authenticities of all claims of proprietorships and the speedy and accurate resolutions of disputes.

"Towards this end, any payment being made must now meet and be supported by requisite documents that adhere to a 12 point due diligence checklist introduced to ensure consistency and objectivity in the process.

The checklist confirms compliance and adherence to the laid down legal processes such as the requirement to acquire land by a competent authority, publication of the notices of intention to acquire, and the holding of a public inquiry.

-Edited by SKanyara