Less than even two months after the gruesome and unresolved murder of former National Lands Commission Communications boss Jennifer Wambua, there’s a storm building up at the commission which is quickly gaining infamy as a controversy stricken body, and at the heart of the matter is a multi-billion shillings piece of land.
The Commission’s Chairman, Mr. Gerishom Otachi is in the middle of a bitter contest with his fellow commissioners, and the disagreement is said to have gotten so bad that just last week, Otachi came unbelievably close to being ousted as the Commission’s Chair.
The bone of contention is the decision by the NLC to pay Sh1.5 billion to city businesswoman Roseline Njeri Macharia as compensation for the plot on which City Cabanas restaurant sits.
The 4.040ha land is one of the 72 parcels the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) has identified for acquisition for the Nairobi expressway that runs from Mlolongo to the James Gichuru junction on Waiyaki Way.
The commission gave Ms Macharia the money despite a court directive stopping the payment, pending the determination of a case filed by a company laying claim to the land.
On April 18, Simandi Investments went to the High Court and obtained orders against NLC and Kenha in an effort to freeze Ms Macharia’s bank accounts.
During last week’s meeting, the commissioners accused Mr Otachi of receiving the order but not informing them.
According to minutes of an earlier meeting, investigations by the Ministry of Lands and the police concluded that Ms Macharia was the genuine owner of the land. The two agencies concluded that her documents were authentic.
After Mr Otachi called the meeting to order, he recused himself during the discussion of the report to approve the payments.
He said the businesswoman had accused him of bias and he did not want to be part of the proceedings.
It later emerged that he was served with the court order which he chose not to bring to the attention of his colleagues.