SGR land compensation to be stopped – DPP

The Standard Gauge Railway. Photo/FILE
The Standard Gauge Railway. Photo/FILE

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) will from Wednesday, January 30 begin scrutinizing the Standard Gauge Railway project from Nairobi to Naivasha over suspected fraud in the compensation of land owners.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji says EACC is investigating some of the compensation cases, affecting those who have already been paid for the SGR land and those who are yet to be paid.

“We have agreed to start investigations immediately, and we are writing to various authorities to cease all payments until investigations are complete,” said the DPP on Tuesday.

In December last year, the Kenya Railways Corporation released Ksh.10.2 billion to the National Land Commission (NLC), to carry out compensation of the phase 2a section.

According to NLC, it had paid out Ksh.4 billion by last week while Ksh.6 billion is pending.

The money was supposed to compensate persons along the Rongai–Ngong line, Ngong Mai–Mahiu line including the Mai Mahiu station, as well as Mai Mahiu to Suswa.

However, NLC says it has only compensated the Rongai Section, while areas particularly Ngong Station, Mai Mahiu and Suswa are yet to present their claim documents.

Some of the compensation deals for these sections considered questionable by the DPP and EACC will be investigated, and even some of those who have already been paid in the first tranche of Ksh.4 billion are facing investigations by the anti-graft body.

The National Land Commission has been accused of colluding with land cartels to inflate the land value and in the long run fleecing the tax payers.

From Syokimau and Ngong alone, there are approximately 1,093 parcels of land that required compensation, with that number ballooning as land owners flock to Ardhi House to pave way for the train.

The DPP, however, insists that the intention of his office and the EACC is not to derail the SGR project, but to ensure that Kenyans are not cheated by cartels siphoning money through the compensation window.

The DPP’s sentiments come amid claims that Kenyans lost over Ksh.4 billion in intricate land compensation dealings that landed NLC boss Muhammad Swazuri and six others in court.

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