Kenya Police have arrested top officials of the land commission, including the chairman Muhammad Swazuri, hours after prosecutor Noordin Haji agreed to charges against him.
Mr Haji’s office on Saturday tweeted that he has agreed to charges against the National Land Commission (NLC) chairman and others over compensation for land acquired for construction of the standard gauge railway.
“#BreakingNews, The DPP has consented to charges against National Land Commission (NLC) Chair Dr Swazuri and others in relation to #SGR compensation,” reads the tweet posted early Saturday morning.
Police also arrested the commission’ chief executive/secretary Chavangi Aziz Tom and Kenya Railways boss Atanas Maina.
Two senior land commission directors, Ms Salome Munubi (valuation and taxation) and Mr Francis Mugo (finance), were also arrested in the morning swoop.
Ms Gladys Mwikali Muyanga, a land registrar, in the Lands ministry and a licensed land surveyor Mr Obadiah Mbugua Wainaina are also in police custody.
Details about the specific charges the seven arrested officials face were scanty but Mr Swazuri has been on the spot over compensation of land acquired for construction of SGR.
A family had petitioned the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) demanding Mr Swazuri and Kenya Railways boss Maina investigated over the compulsory acquisition of a piece of land, LR No MN/VI/755, located in Miritini, Mombasa.
But the DPP’s tweet did not elaborate whether Mr Swazuri will be charged over payment of Sh519m for the piece of land claimed by the family of the late James Kamau Thiong’o and the African Gas and Oil Company Limited (AGOL).
The family alleged NLC and Kenya Railways processed the payment before they could determine the legality of the title being held by AGOL.