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Economy

Parliament throws out Swazuri in land bribery probe

National Lands Commission chairman Mohamed Swazuri appearing before the National Assembly Lands Committee on March 29, 2017 where he is being investigated for alleged corruption. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG
National Lands Commission chairman Mohamed Swazuri appearing before the National Assembly Lands Committee on March 29, 2017 where he is being investigated for alleged corruption. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG  

The National Land Commission (NLC) chairman, Muhammad Swazuri, was yesterday thrown out of Parliament where a petition seeking his removal from office for allegedly taking bribes was being heard.

Dr Swazuri was Wednesday evening declared a hostile witness when he refused to table documents earlier ordered by MPs citing a court order stopping the National Assembly Lands committee from hearing the petition seeking his removal from office.

Attempts by Dr Swazuri to return to the committee and serve the court order were thwarted by committee chairman Alex Mwiru who declared him and his lawyer Tom Ojienda strangers and ordered the serjeant-at-arms to lock them out.

This means that the committee will proceed to take evidence from witnesses and file its report to the House without Dr Swazuri’s input.

The team heard that Dr Swazuri defied a unit of NLC and ordered payment of Sh82.8 million to a Tanzanian grain handling firm for land the government targeted for acquisition to build the standard gauge railway (SGR).

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The land was also being claimed by another company, Damla Enterprises Limited, which is behind the petition.

The owner of Damla Enterprises, Mugo Njeru, told the committee that the NLC boss received a Sh1.2 million bribe to process compensation for land in his favour.

He added that Dr Swazuri was to receive an additional Sh25 million if the petitioner successfully got paid for the seven-acre piece of land worth Sh43 million.

Mr Njeru told MPs how Dr Swazuri, through an aide Elijah Fadhili Yaa together with lawyer S. Ruwa, allegedly coerced him to pay the bribe dubbed Mbuzi in order not to miss out on compensation for railway land.

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