EACC names Matiang’i in Sh1.5bn Ruaraka land row


Interior CS Fred Matiang'i. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The anti-graft agency has blamed Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and PS Belio Kipsang for loss of Sh1.5 billion in the Ruaraka school land saga. The agency is also demanding that the businessman who was paid for the land deposit the cash in court.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) says Dr Matiang’i and Dr Kipsang ignored recommendations of quality assurance and standards assessment team, which established that the land on which Ruaraka High school stands is public.

This is the first time that Dr Matiang'i’s name has featured on the radar of investigators probing the controversy that has been raging for more than a year.

“That in a blatant disregard of the report… Dr. Fred Matiang’i put forth a formal request pursuant to Section 107(1) of the Land Act in a letter dated 17th March 2017,” says the EACC in court documents.

“The Cabinet Secretary formally requested the applicant to commence the process leading to the acquisition of the schools’ land on the pretext that it was private land.”

Businessman Francis Mburu was paid the Sh1.5 billion for the land, which Parliament found was ceded to the state decades ago. Two public schools, Drive Inn Primary and Ruaraka High school are situated on the land.

The National Land Commission (NLC) moved to court seeking to determine the validity of the title to the controversial land and payments made.

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In the application, the NLC further wants an order stopping all civil and criminal proceedings in relation to the compulsory acquisition of the land by the Ministry of Education.

The EACC has filed an affidavit opposing the NLC application, arguing that stopping cases related to the land will defeat investigations. In the application heard yesterday, the anti-graft agency reckoned that the NLC requests are against public interest and will prevent the EACC from seeking to recover the Sh1.5 billion.

The case did not proceed yesterday after the NLC asked the court to take the file to the Chief Justice for its request for three judges to hear the suit.

The matter will now be mentioned before the duty judge on August 28.

The EACC said it would be in the interest of justice that the businessman be ordered to deposit in court Sh1.5 billion pending the conclusion of the suit.

"It would also be in the interest of justice that the balance of the compensation be preserved by stopping any further payment through an order of this court," Alfred Mwendwa, an investigator said in a statement.

Through lawyer Tom Ojienda, NLC said a search, and records held by the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, show the property is held on freehold tenure and is registered under Afrison Export Import Ltd and Huelands Ltd, which are associated with Mr Mburu.