Auditor-General puts NLC to task on Sh2.8bn set aside to buy land
6 months ago, 13 Mar 23:44
The Auditor-General is yet to verify whether the Sh2.8 billion spent by the National Land Commission (NLC) to buy land that was used to put up 13 government projects across the country was properly used. Some of the projects whose compensation is under query include Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset), Outering, Dongo Kundu road, Sotik-Ndanai, Chepterit-Baraton, Kangema-Gacharage roads, Nairobi southern and Meru eastern and western bypasses. The Commission Tuesday failed to explain to MPs why it took one year to provide the information needed by the Auditor-General for the preparation of the report of the 2015/16 Financial Year. Part of the information the NLC failed to provide includes acreage, title deeds and valuation reports of the land of individuals that were compensated by the government. COMPLIED Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee Tuesday, NLC Director Valuation and Taxation Salome Munubi, while admitting that the commission failed to provide the documents on time, said they did not understand what was needed by the Auditor-General then but has since complied. “I must say that we did not submit the information on time but we are on a learning curve and we will continue to improve,” said Dr Munubi, who was accompanied by NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri. The NLC officials were invited to shed light on claims of compensation to individuals for public land, double compensation, and compensation to people who did not own land acquired for the standard gauge railway project, excessive compensation as a result of over-valuation and compensation in regard to Kenya Railway reserve land. Dr Swazuri told the lawmakers that the commission does an elaborate due diligence before compensation hence no fraudster was paid during the compensation. VERIFICATION “We do verification of title deeds before going ahead with payment; where in doubt or there are two people claiming the same piece of land, we do not pay until the parties solve their problem,” Dr Swazuri said. The chairman also told the committee that they do not pay for any property or structure put up six months after the land has been identified for a government project. Committee chairman Opiyo Wandayi said they will not clear the commission over the queries raised by the Auditor- General on compensation as NLC has failed to satisfactorily provide an explanation over the delay. “What we have listened to so far are just stories and, as far as we are concerned, the audit queries remain unresolved,” Mr Wandayi said. Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo said the committee will not handle the matter of compensation lightly as queries have been raised by members of the public over collusion of some NLC officers and fraudsters to swindle public funds.
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