Two government officials have been arrested after they were accused of being part of a land grabbing syndicate in Nairobi’s Parklands.
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officers on Monday arrested a chief and deputy county commissioner.
The two government officials were arrested for allegedly soliciting a bribe from a family to protect them from being evicted from their land.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said he planned the arrest with the anti-corruption officers after the rightful property owners, Mr Mohan Singh Dhanjal and Mr Satwant Singh Dhanjal, reported to him that their chief, whom they identified as Malunda, had been threatening them with eviction and demanding hefty bribes from the family.
“After going through their land documents, I found out that they were the genuine owners and I decided to take action,” he said.
Mr Sonko said it was not the chief’s mandate to deal with land cases.
“Today (Monday), I called the EACC officers and informed them about the case and referred the family to the anti-corruption officers to record a statement and with the help of the officers, the chief and the DO have been arrested,” he said.
According to the family, on Thursday last week, the chief summoned them to his office and informed them that they would be evicted Monday as the land they had been living on had a new owner.
The family claims they have lived on the land since 1977.
“On Saturday he wanted us to give him Sh100,000, which we negotiated down to Sh30,000,” one of the claimants to the land alleged.
Since last year, he said, the chief had been demanding that they take their land documents to him.
“The chief had told us that we had outstanding rent of Sh350,000, which we are to pay to the new owner and should we fail to clear it, the new owner will evict us,” he said.
Several residents have lost their land to fraudsters who are believed to have connections in the Lands ministry and the county government.
Residents have accused the two officials of colluding with the police to grab and sell land.
Parklands ward MCA Jayendra Malde, who had accompanied the governor, said he would not sit and watch as his people pay bribes to keep their land.
Mr Sonko has vowed to fight land-grabbing cartels who have been terrorising city residents.