Revealed: NLC nominees hold Sh1.3bn wealth

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Revealed: NLC nominees hold Sh1.3bn wealth

Esther Murugi when she appeared before the National Assembly Lands Committee on September 19, 2019. FILE PHOTO |NMG 

The nine nominees approved by Parliament for appointment to the National Land Commission (NLC) hold a combined wealth of Sh1.3 billion, filings tabled in Parliament have revealed.

Former Nyeri Town MP Esther Murugi Mathenge is the richest of all the nine nominees, having declared her net worth as Sh320 million.

The former Cabinet Minister is followed closely Alister Murimi Mutugi at Sh250 million with Gershom Otachi coming third with a net worth of Sh200 million.

Mr Otachi, a former member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) defence team, is tapped as the new chair of NLC.

Wealth declaration for those seeking top public office in anchored in the Constitution as a tool in the fight against corruption.

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In the same vein, the Public Officer Ethics Act requires all State officers to submit their declaration forms once every two years.

Section 26 of the Act requires the officers to submit their declarations together with those of their spouses and dependent children under the age of 18 years.

The full financial disclosure is a means to allow the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detect and prevent corruption when top public servants are serving in office.

Former Egerton University Vice-chancellor James Tuitoek declared a net worth of Sh145 million, while former Isiolo Woman Representative Tiyah Galgalo said she was Sh116 million.

Gertrude Nduku Nguku, a former legal officer with the UN, put her wealth at Sh60.4 million.

Ms Galgalo currently serves as a County Executive Committee Member in Isiolo County government and faced resistance from lawmakers over the NLC job due to her tax compliance records.

Prof Tuitoek told the National Assembly’s Lands committee that his net worth was Sh109 million and was expecting to receive a pension of Sh36 million.

Former Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi revealed a net asset of Sh50 million, Hubbie Hussein Sh50 million and Reginald Okumu Sh32 million.

Mr Hussein is a former county executive committee member for Agriculture in Garissa while Mr Okumu is a director at Ark Consultants Ltd, a real estate and property valuation company.

The wealth list revealed that those who have previously served in public offices or consulted for government were richer compared to those who have served in the private sector.

Mr Otachi, currently the chair of Geothermal Development Corporation, served in the defence team of six Kenyans, including President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at the ICC,where the two faced crimes against humanity charges.

ICC judges dismissed the charges against all the six Kenyans.

Mr Otachi is also the managing partner of Ogetto, Otachi and Company Advocates, the law firm that recently produced the current Solicitor-General, Kennedy Ogeto.

If cleared by MPs, he will succeed Dr Swazuri, whose six-year term came to a rough end in February.

The names were picked from a list of two (for chairperson) and 16 (commissioners) that the selection panel, chaired by Priscilla Nyokabi, forwarded to President Kenyatta.

Former Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) commissioner-general John Njiraini dropped his quest for the chairmanship, just one week after he was shortlisted and interviewed for the job.

Under the NLC Act, President Kenyatta has to forward his choice to Parliament for vetting within 14 days of receiving the names from the panel.

The NLC chairperson’s job has one of the most unenviable assignments characterised by slow pace of land reforms and infighting among commissioners.

For instance, Dr Swazuri was hounded out of office by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission amid claims of fraud.

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