Attempt to terminate Ruaraka land case suspect, says DPP

Noordin Haji
Noordin Haji Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Director of Public Prosecutions has opposed plans to stop civil and criminal proceedings related to the controversial Ruaraka land, terming the move an abuse of court process.

Appearing before Justice Bernard Eboso, the DPP through senior assistant director of public prosecutions Alexander Muteti said the application by the National Land Commission (NLC), to stop any action concerning the contentious land deal was suspect.

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

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.

But the DPP said the NLC made the determination to pay businessman Francis Mburu and “the commission must deal with the consequences”.

He wondered why NLC had to wait until they have made payments to seek an advisory opinion from the court.

Mr Mburu was paid 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 Attorney General, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Nairobi County Government also opposed the application that Afrison Export Import Ltd and Huelands Ltd, both associated with Mr Mburu, have backed.

Through Tom Ojienda, the NLC urged the court to order parties to preserve the status quo, pending the determination of the case. He said no payments and adverse findings should be made concerning the title, before the case is determined.

Prof Ojienda further said the commission acted on advice and documents in their possession to make the payments and NLC will suffer prejudice if any findings is made because the case would not have been determined on merit. The parties agreed that the matter be referred to Chief Justice David Maraga, who will constitute a bench of three judges to hear the matter. They also agreed that the jurisdiction of the court will be addressed by the panel to be constituted by the CJ.

EACC through P. Ruto said the orders sought by the NLC are not in the public interest as they will fetter its mandate to recover and protect public money.