NLC bosses face summons after snubbing MPs on Sh1bn SGR payouts query

Public Investments Committee says Thursday meeting the last, then summonses to follow

In Summary

•Commission bosses were to appear over SGR land compensation queries but failed to turn up.

•Pokot South MP David Pkosing-led committee says truancy not tenable, says to refer NLC chiefs to other competent authorities.

PIC CA&E chairman and Pokot South MP David Pkosing during a meeting in Parliament, June 6, 2023.
PIC CA&E chairman and Pokot South MP David Pkosing during a meeting in Parliament, June 6, 2023.

National Land Commission bosses have up to tomorrow to present evidence of payment of compensation for SGR land or face summonses.

A House Committee wants the NLC chairman Gershom Otachi and CEO Kabale Tache to appear before it tomorrow to shed light on the Sh1 billion payouts.

Public Investments Committee on Commercial Affairs and Energy of the National Assembly issued the directive after the two officials gave its meeting a wide berth.

The committee chaired by Pokot South MP David Pkosing had invited the commission and Kenya Railways to shed light on the matter, which is subject of an audit query.

The commission’s top bosses however failed to appear and instead dispatched the director of finance to represent them.

But MPs declined to give audience to the officer saying they will not entertain the truancy on the part of the commission.

“We are directing the NLC chairman and CEO to appear before this committee without fail, otherwise we shall proceed and file our report and they will have to appear before another competent body once we make our recommendation,” Pkosing said.

“We cannot be held at ransom by NLC, unless there is another reason why the chairman and CEO don't want to appear before this committee."

The audit query has been outstanding since 2019.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu in a review of Kenya Railways books for the year ending June 30, 2019, flagged an unexplained payment of Sh1 billion and another Sh8.9 million in extra payment to project affected persons.

“The supporting documents for compensations amounting to Sh1,043,439,897 to project affected persons by way of beneficiary copies of National Identity Cards, Kenya Revenue Authority, Personal Identification Number certificates and title deed surrenders from the National Land Commission were not provided,” she said.

“Further, overpayments of Sh14.7 million were made to PAPs who were paid Sh15.8 million instead of Sh1 milllion. Although recovery of Sh5.7 million has been made, a balance of Sh8.9 million was outstanding as of June 30, 2019.”

Gathungu concluded that in the circumstances, “the legality of the unsupported payments of Sh1.043 billion and full recovery of the Sh8,970,978 on land compensation could not be ascertained.”

The commission bosses are also expected to appear before the committee on the appointed date on a matter involving claims of grabbing of KICC land.

The committee is investigating an alleged plot by insiders at the commission to alienate prime land belonging to Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

This was after it emerged that NLC had written to the county government as the vesting authority for the land, where Garden Square restaurant and Comesa parking lot sit.

Top in the probe by the committee is why NLC appeared to act in favour of ‘cartels’ interested in the disputed land.

The court said in July 2022, that Garden City remits rent to the National Land Commission for onward transfer to the county government of Nairobi.

The court directed that NLC allocates the disputed land to the rightful owners, after which KICC applied for ownership of the land.

It has since emerged that Garden Square management also approached NLC requesting to be allocated the land.

Instead of responding to the requests, NLC wrote to the county government – as owner of the land, to decide who should be allocated.

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