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Fake squatters struck off list of new settlers

Sunday October 6 2013

Squatters evicted from Embobut Forest wait for relief food at a school in Elgeyo-Marakwet in 2009. FILE

Squatters evicted from Embobut Forest wait for relief food at a school in Elgeyo-Marakwet in 2009. FILE 

By PHILEMON SUTER [email protected]

The stalemate that delayed the resettlement of thousands of Embobut Forest squatters has been resolved.

It had been due to a controversial list of beneficiaries.

The government on Sunday said the list had been screened and names of 900 imposters struck out.

President Uhuru Kenyatta will soon tour the Cherangani catchment area to hand the squatters cheques for a total of Sh1.1 billion.

The President’s visit had been postponed over the controversy.

The names of the 900 imposters, who were illegally listed among 2,974 beneficiaries, were removed and replaced with genuine forest dwellers in a clean-up overseen by Elgeyo-Marakwet County Commissioner Athur Osiya at Chesoi DC’s office.

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The three-day exercise also involved squatters’ representatives who identified the fake beneficiaries.

Among those listed irregularly were 20 civil servants and eight family members in Sinen Glade, who would have swindled the government of Sh3.2 million had they not been detected.

The review committee also deleted the names of 14 relatives of members of the taskforce that carried out the exercise.

Some 400 were removed from the list because they live in landslide-prone areas.

“We have been forced to bite the bullet and call a spade a spade. If you don’t deserve it, you don’t because we cannot pay wrong people living outside the forest, and proceed to evict those inside who did not get the resettlement money,” Mr Osiya told the Nation.

Area MP David Kangogo called on the government to give the squatters up to next year to leave the catchment to avoid disrupting their lives.