News

Blow for EACC in Sh109m land row

gavel-pic

A court has quashed a case instituted by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission against a company and its two directors in relation to alleged Sh109 million compensation deal by the National Land Commission. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary


  • Judge prohibits the Anti-Corruption Court at Milimani from hearing the case in relation to Shakil Ahmed Khan and Nazir Ahmed Matakban, who are directors of Tonardo Carriers Ltd.
  • Tornado Carriers Ltd and its directors had been charged at the Anti-Corruption Court in Nairobi alongside former NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri and 22 other individuals over compulsory acquisition of parcel of land in Port Reitz Mombasa.
  • The court also issued a declaration that EACC and Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) cannot hold the land together with compensation money as that amounts to deprivation of property without compensation.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission suffered a blow after a case it instituted against a company and its two directors in relation to alleged Sh109 million compensation deal by the National Land Commission was quashed.

Justice Alfred Mabeya also issued an order prohibiting the Anti-Corruption Court at Milimani from hearing the case in relation to Shakil Ahmed Khan and Nazir Ahmed Matakban, who are directors of Tonardo Carriers Ltd.

The court also quashed a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions to charge Tonardo Carriers Ltd.

Tornado Carriers Ltd and its directors had been charged at the Anti-Corruption Court in Nairobi alongside former NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri and 22 other individuals.

The charges revolved around compulsory acquisition of parcel of land in Port Reitz Mombasa for the construction of the Mombasa Southern bypass and Kipevu new highway container terminal link road.

Justice Mabeya who heard the case at the High Court in Mombasa said Tonardo Carriers Ltd is the owner of the parcel of land and its rights are protected under the constitution.

“The suit property (land) was being acquired compulsorily but the process was not successfully completed due to corrupt activities by officers of NLC,” said Justice Mabeya.

He further noted that Sh55.2 million that was paid to the petitioners (Tornado Carriers Ltd and its directors) was said to have been transferred to the EACC’s asset recovery account.

Justice Mabeya also noted that the land remains the subject of compulsory acquisition as it has not been degazzeted.

“The money meant for compensation is no longer in the hands of the petitioners, Tonardo Carriers Ltd cannot lose the property and compensation money at the same time, that would be unconstitutional,” ruled Justice Mabeya.

He added that while the mandate of testing the sufficiency of evidence against an accused belongs to the trial court, where there is an allegation that the “DPP has initiated charges that are either untenable, based on ulterior motive other than for the ends of justice and public interest, the court must examine their (charges) efficacy”.

“Where there is sufficient evidence that the DPP is acting in contravention of the constitution or the law, this court must step in and stop him on his tracks,” said Justice Mabeya.

The judge further said that the High Court must be satisfied that “a worthless prosecution” is not sustained for purposes of harassing a citizen.

“I am satisfied that the charges against the petitioners were unwarranted, they are intended to harass them for no good reason. The best the DPP should have done was to have them as his witnesses against the others and not as accused,” said Justice Mabeya.

The court also issued a declaration that EACC and Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) cannot hold the land together with compensation money as that amounts to deprivation of property without compensation.