Ruaraka land saga: 10 Cabinet Secretaries now under probe


Ruaraka land saga: 10 Cabinet Secretaries now under probe
Part of the Ruaraka Land. PHOTO| CITIZEN DIGITAL

In Summary

  • Three permanent secretaries, three commissioners of the National Lands Commission and several business persons are also on the radar of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
  • Investigative files dispatched to DPP Noordin Haji for his perusal and determination indicate that EACC had identified properties worth Ksh.450 million in Meru, Lamu and Nairobi acquired from proceeds of the Ruaraka land compensation money paid out in January this year.
  • But what has intrigued the investigators is how quickly the money was distributed among companies and individuals, amid claims that the payment was unjustified.

For months now, the controversial Ruaraka Land deal has refused to leave the doorsteps of the Jubilee administration, with suspicion revolving around key government officials. But now it is presenting the president with what could be his first major test on his declared war on graft.

Citizen TV has learnt that at least 30 top government officials, among them 10 Cabinet Secretaries, are being probed over the Ksh.1.5 billion Ruaraka Land scandal.

Three permanent secretaries, three commissioners of the National Lands Commission and several business persons are also on the radar of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

Documents seen by Citizen TV suggest that the Director of Public Prosecution has a file implicating at least 10 Cabinet Secretaries in President Kenyatta’s cabinet over the Ruaraka land scam.

The investigative files dispatched to DPP Noordin Haji for his perusal and determination indicate that EACC had identified properties worth Ksh.450 million in Meru, Lamu and Nairobi acquired from proceeds of the Ruaraka land compensation money paid out in January this year.

The list of targeted properties also include three vehicles valued at Ksh.25 million and houses worth Ksh.50 million.

A money trail being followed by detectives discloses that the Ministry of Education had on January 20, 2018 deposited Ksh.1.5 billion in the National Land Commission’s account at the National Bank in Upperhill.

The money was days later transferred to the account of Whispering Palms Estates Limited, and a day later, Ksh.930 million was deposited in the account of Champions Kenya Limited — a surrogate of the company that was paid a partial compensation for the land on which Ruaraka Secondary School and Drive Inn Primary Schools are built.

But what has intrigued the investigators is how quickly the money was distributed among companies and individuals, amid claims that the payment was unjustified.

The batch of Ksh.930 million deposited in the account of Champions Kenya Limited was shared out within 20 days.

On January 31 this year, two companies and two individuals were paid a total of Ksh.9.6 million within hours with the bulk of the money being paid out on February 1st to Sawe & Company Advocates, Albert Kamunde and NR Nyamai.

Innovious Limited, Meshack Onyango and Lorgis Logistics are reported to have pocketed a total of Ksh.54 million on the same day, while CW Chege and Company, Stephen Macharia and Jimex Company were paid a total of Ksh. 12 million according to EACC records.

However, on February 12 Ksh.270 million was paid in cash to Yassir Hassan Mbarak, who immediately converted it to U.S. dollars at a Nairobi Forex Bureau.

The Ksh. 570 million that remained in the account of Whispering Palms was distributed to various entities and individuals within 48 hours of payment by the National Lands Commission.

On January 30, Albert Kamunde & Company Advocates received Ksh.119.5 million, John Mutwiri remained with Ksh.50 million while Global Infrastructure pocketed Ksh.48 million, with Mark Mburu receiving Ksh. 20 million.

A day later, Kenya Arab Contractors was paid Ksh. 220 million, with Mark Mburu and Sam Mburu receiving Ksh.70 million, while Mlorry Logistics and Mugove Mudzi received a total of Ksh.17.2 million.

When contacted for comment, EACC CEO Halakhe Waqo halakhe said the commission was treating the Ruaraka land saga as a clear case of theft of public funds, and those implicated would be brought to book.

Now it remains to be seen if the DPP will give the go-ahead for prosecution and how far the president will be willing to go with his self declared war on corruption.

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Story By Francis Gachuri
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