Demo over ‘ex­or­bi­tant’ land cost

Mu­rang’a res­i­dents say the county govern­ment bought the land for Sh10 mil­lion an acre, dou­ble its value and mar­ket price. They want a probe into the pur­chase deal

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Central - WIL­LIAM MWANGI @memwar­williams

Mu­rang’a res­i­dents yes­ter­day took to the streets to protest against the county govern­ment for al­legedly mis­us­ing re­sources by buy­ing land at Makuyu for Sh10 mil­lion per acre.

The res­i­dents pre­sented a pe­ti­tion to the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions of­fice in the county giv­ing it 10 days to in­ves­ti­gate.

The res­i­dents want Gover­nor Mwangi Wairia in­ves­ti­gated for com­mit­ting county funds in an ex­or­bi­tant land pur­chase deal. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port tabled for his im­peach­ment, he bought an acre for Sh10 mil­lion in 2013, dou­ble the pre­vail­ing val­u­a­tion and mar­ket rate that is at Sh5 mil­lion.

If the pur­chase is not in­ves­ti­gated within the 10 days, the res­i­dents said they will file a case against the DPP and camp at the gover­nor’s of­fice and the county as­sem­bly.

“We write to you in the in­ter­est of the peo­ple of Mu­rang’a rais­ing con­cerns over non-ac­tion of your of­fice in ei­ther con­duct­ing prose­cu­tions or or­der­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions for the of­fences of cor­rup­tion within the county govern­ment,” the pe­ti­tion read.

Ac­tivist Charles Njoroge said, “The il­le­gal pro­cure­ment of the land along Kenol-Ka­bati road has long been es­tab­lished by the county as­sem­bly and the Se­nate as a sham and con­ducted in a flawed process as the piece was pur- chased for Sh340 mil­lion.”

Res­i­dents want Wairia to step aside and al­low the law to take its cause be­fore they hound him out of of­fice.

“The mat­ter has been in the pub­lic do­main since 2014 and more openly since Novem­ber 2015, when it was fea­tured dur­ing the im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings,” Njoroge said.

“The Se­nate de­ci­sion [not to im­peach him] did not mean he was ac­quit­ted from the charges dur­ing the im­peach­ment mo­tion, yet this was one of the is­sues in the pe­ti­tion. The Se­nate shied away from send­ing Wairia home, but we as res­i­dents will not.”

Res­i­dent Ki­mani Kar­iuki said, “Chap­ter 6 of our Con­sti­tu­tion is clear on lead­er­ship and in­tegrity among pub­lic of­fi­cers. Since power be­longs to the peo­ple, we are ex­er­cis­ing it by call­ing upon the gover­nor to an­swer the ques­tions raised by the sen­a­tors.”

“Time has come for us to zeal­ously guard our re­sources from rogue lead­er­ship that takes ad­van­tage of in­sti­tu­tional weak­nesses to en­gage in eco­nomic crimes. We are the guardians and cus­to­di­ans of de­vo­lu­tion and county re­sources must be guarded.”

The county govern­ment is said to have pur­chased the land in 2014 to set up an in­dus­trial park, but the process stalled when the mo­tion to im­peach Wairia was tabled at the county as­sem­bly.

The gover­nor and his of­fice of­fi­cials were un­avail­able for com­ment. They did not pick our calls or re­ply to our mes­sages.

/WIL­LIAM MWANGI

Demon­stra­tors head to­wards the of­fice of the DPP in Mu­rang’a town yes­ter­day. They gave the DPP 10 days to in­ves­ti­gate a land pur­chase deal

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