ORENGO SIGNED LAMU LAND ALLOCATION
SIAYA Senator James Orengo’s hand in the allocation of part of the 500,000 acres in Lamu has emerged. Documents show that Orengo, who was Lands minister then, and his PS, Dorothy Angote, approved the issuance of titles to some of the tracts of land in the controversial allocations.
The document further shows that the Office of the President and Lamu West MP Julius Ndegwa, then a councillor in Lamu, at one point approved some of the allotments.
It is on the basis of these documents, the Star has learnt, that the Jubilee government wants Orengo investigated, arrested and charged. President Uhuru Kenyatta last week ordered Lands cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu to repossess 500,000 acres of public land in Lamu County that was irregularly allocated to 22 private entities.
The land, according to the President, accounts for 70 per cent of land in Lamu County, and he ordered Ngilu and the National Land Commission to revoke the title deeds of the private entities.
Ngilu on Friday announced that Orengo is under investigation over irregular land transactions when he served as minister for Lands that now appear to have rocked Lamu County.
Part of the strategy by Jubilee operatives is further to show that Orengo never acted on suspect allocations anywhere in the country, including Lamu.
Using information from Parliament’s Hansard, the Jubilee operatives are seeking to demonstrate that Orengo knew about the irregularities and never acted.
The information has been converted into graphics which are now being circulated through social media sites and WhatsApp messages. However, in 2010 Orengo revoked titles to five plots that belonged to Kenya Wildlife Service in Lamu but had been illegally allocated.
The Senator has already denied any adverse involvement, accusing Ngilu of engaging in diversionary tactics on land-grabbing at the Coast. “I’m ready to appear before the commission and reveal all that happened when I was Lands minister.
We know the Government has brought up the land issue to politically fight Raila at the Coast, but we are ready to deal with them,” Orengo said. According to the documents, Orengo is accused of approving the allocation of a total of 24,000 hectares to two of the 22 companies.
The two companies are Rusken International Ltd., allocated 16,000ha, and Shanghai Investments Ltd., allocated 8,000ha. The documents show the chairman of the then Lamu County Council, Abdukassim Ahmed, wrote to the minister, notifying him of a resolution by a council meeting to re-allocate part of the land which had initially been allocated to Mat International.
Orengo’s office received the letter on February 24, 2012. The minister made comments on the letter, asking the PS to comply with the minutes of the letter. Angote approved Orengo’s directives.
In another case, assistant commissioner of lands Muthomi Ngaruthi wrote an internal memo to Orengo through PS Angote’s office. In the memo, Ngaruthi seeks clearance to process allotment documents for Fincorp Investments and Shanghai Investments Ltd in relation to land which had been allocated to Akiro and Bujra ranches in 1976.
“May I have your clearance to document the recommendation and/or further instructions,” Ngaruthi’s memo to Orengo states. However, Ngaruthi’s approval of allocation was subject to “proof of ability to develop the same for the benefit of the people of Lamu County”.
The then Lamu county Commissioner, Samuel Ikua, is also mentioned in the allocation. Documents show he chaired the district development committee that recommended the allocation to Rusken.
“This is to inform you that the Lamu District Development Committee, during its deliberations held on 30th January, 2009, at Lamu County Hall, recommended that Rusken International Limited be allocated 16,000 hectares for the purpose of sugar production. The project was welcomed by the members as it will spur growth in the county by raising the necessary revenue and offering employment to the youths,” Ikua says in the letter.
Ndegwa seconded the minutes of the council meeting that resolved to allocate the land originally given to Mat International to three other companies which include Rusken.
“Resolution No. 51CCL/2011 was proposed by Cllr Omar Ali Salim Basaida, seconded by Cllr Julius Ndegwa Kariuki. “The land be leased to 3 companies, each company be given 16,000ha, investors be removed if they failed to carry out the projects within five years and a memorandum of understanding be signed with the council,” reads part of the minutes forwarded to Orengo’s office.