Swazuri and his lawyer kicked out of committee hearing

Wednesday March 29 2017

National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri (right) and his lawyer Tom Ojienda before the National Assembly's Lands Committee at Continental House in Nairobi on March 29, 2017. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri (right) and his lawyer Tom Ojienda before the National Assembly's Lands Committee at Continental House in Nairobi on March 29, 2017. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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By MAUREEN KAKAH
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National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri and his lawyer Tom Ojienda were on Wednesday evening twice kicked out of a hearing of the National Assembly's Lands Committee after defying the group because of a court order they had obtained against Parliament.

Dr Swazuri, Prof Ojienda and their team had met the committee in the morning as instructed but then used a 15-minute break mid-morning and the lunch break to file a case against the committee and get the order.

Justice John Mativo issued the temporary order suspending the probe against Dr Swazuri following a petition that had been presented before Parliament seeking his removal from office over allegations that he took a Sh1 million bribe from a party that had a land dispute before the commission.

Dr Swazuri had described the petition as malicious. He had been required to submit documents relating to the case in which he is alleged to have demanded bribes regarding compensation for land for the standard gauge railway.

“We have got those documents but we’re not going to submit them. This is because we have obtained a court order against this committee,” he declared.

This provoked a hostile reaction from members of the House committee, led by chairman Alex Mwiru, who said that the meeting would proceed as the order had not been served to the Speaker of the National Assembly through the Clerk. But Prof Ojienda protested, saying that Parliament’s lawyer was present when the order was being issued.