Swazuri blames deputy for his arrest as he demands job back


Swazuri blames deputy for his arrest as he demands job back
National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri speaking to the press on Wednesday July 25, 2018. PHOTO| CITIZEN DIGITAL

In Summary

  • In a lengthy letter to the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Swazuri claims that the move by his deputy, Abigael Mbagaya Mukolwe to replace him is unconstitutional.
  • Swazuri further claims that charges against him have been broken down to portray him as the mastermind of the scandal at hand.
  • Meanwhile, a coalition of civil society groups has demanded for the removal of all the 8 commissioners over gross misconduct and corruption dealings in the lands sector.

Embattled National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Muhammad Swazuri, who was edged out of office after being charged with graft, is now demanding his reinstatement.

In a lengthy letter to the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Swazuri claims that the move by his deputy, Abigael Mbagaya Mukolwe to replace him is unconstitutional.

Swazuri alleges that Ms. Mbagaya, who took over his position last week, orchestrated his arrest further accusing her of engaging in underhand dealings at the commission.

“Article 250 and 251 is clear on the process of appointment and removal/vacancy of the office of chairperson. The fact that the person reportedly taking over as chairperson of the NLC not only orchestrated my arrest but we have evidence of her corrupt acts as Vice Chair, make it untenable to allow this state of affairs to continue,” says Swazuri in the letter.

“A day after my release on bail, the magistrate ordered that I should not go to my office unless accompanied by a police officer and after consulting with the “new management.” That order has apparently been translated by the Vice Chairperson to mean I have been suspended or interdicted.”

Swazuri, who is facing several corruption charges, wants Mr. Kinyua to intervene in what seems as his ejection from the commission.

“My fervent request is that you urgently intervene in this matter in seeking answers to the reasons for the infringement of my constitutional rights by the EACC officers as well as assist in addressing the issue of my ostensible removal from office,” reads the letter.

The NLC boss, other officials of the lands commission and Mr. Atanas Maina, the Managing Director of Kenya Railways, are charged over fraudulent compensation in acquiring land for the Standard Gauge Railway.

Swazuri, however, claims that charges against him have been broken down to portray him as the mastermind of the scandal at hand.

“I have looked at the charges and I note that the charges against me have been broken down to several counts to make them appear more onerous than the rest of the accused persons and yet the charges are exactly similar in nature and content.”

“This is a blatant attempt by the EACC and the DPP to sensationally make the charge sheet appear as if I was the key mastermind in this alleged crime with most charges being leveled against me,” says Swazuri.

Meanwhile, as Swazuri fights for his job, a coalition of civil society groups has demanded for the removal of all the eight commissioners over gross misconduct and corruption dealings in the lands sector.

Addressing the media on Sunday, the lobby groups threatened to table evidence linking the commissioners to fraud in the lands commission.

“The level of doubt raised in these transaction; Mombasa cement lease renewal, Kakuzi lease renewal and Mwadudu Primary School acquisition is of such magnitude that an honest commissioner will not remain in office,” said the lobby group.

They called on the DPP and DCI to probe transactions of the NLC since 2013 claiming that the institution has been used to benefit few influential businessmen and politicians.

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