Swazuri barred from accessing office after DPP cites witness interference

Swazuri barred from accessing office after DPP cites witness interference
National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri. PHOTO| COURTESY

National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri has been barred from accessing his office pending the hearing and determination of an application filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The DPP filed an urgent application in court on Tuesday, seeking to have Swazuri’s bond cancelled on grounds that he is interfering with witnesses in a corruption case against him.

According to the prosecution, Swazuri has continuously interfered with the operations of NLC by taking actions that go against the court orders as regards the bail condition and the undertaking.

“The respondent has rendered the operations at the NLC impossible and has virtually arrogated himself the role of the commission without due regard to other commissioners and state of the commission,” reads the application in part.

The prosecution further submitted that Swazuri has been interfering with witnesses, adding that this is likely to affect the integrity and justice of the criminal case.

“The respondent (Swazuri) has engaged in conduct that openly displays disregard from the rule of Law and conducts business of the Commission as if he were the Commission,” claims the prosecution.

In its application, the prosecution urged the court to cancel the bail issued to Swazuri.

“The continued intimidation and interference with the said witnesses amounts to compelling reasons for which the bail should be cancelled,” reads the court documents.

According to the prosecution, cancellation of Swazuri’s bail will not jeopardize the operations of the National Land Commission as the other commissioners and/or officers will still be able to further the mandate of the office.

Meanwhile, the High Court in Nairobi on Tuesday also dismissed a case by Swazuri seeking to chair one last meeting before his term expires.

Mr. Swazuri, in the case, told the court it was prudent for him to call a meeting because he needs to hand over before his term comes to an end on February 19, 2019.

While declining the application, however, Justice Hedwig Ong’udi said the court cannot interfere with internal affairs of the commission.

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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