Sudi is summoned over ‘grabbing’ of 1,515 acres

The National Assembly Lands Committee has summoned Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi to shed light on claims that he is involved in a scheme to grab land meant for squatters.

The squatters petitioned the committee, accusing Moi University of conspiring with an MP to evict them from the land. Committee members quizzed Moi University Vice-Chancellor Isaac Kosgey, local leaders and squatters spokespersons at Boma Inn Hotel in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, on Friday, June 7.

Committee chairperson Joash Nyamoko his deputy Jayne Kihara said Mr Sudi must appear before it in seven days. Mr Sudi’s name featured prominently during the questioning and presentations.

After touring the 1,515 acres, Mr Nyamoko said his team would summon Mr Sudi.

“We want to verify reports of leaders being involved in the ploughing of this land,” the North Mugirango MP said. The land is at Moi University Main Campus in Kesses. The MPs ordered a halt in farming activities on the disputed piece. The squatters talked of a plot to evict them from the land so that the university can sell it to a local politician.

Prof Kosgey was asked by MPs to explain the lease of the land to an investor. The land the university is accused of irregularly leasing is also claimed by Ngeria estate squatters, who were reportedly evicted in the early 1980s.

The committee was informed that the land is leased out to a company called Cropsoko. The squatters’ spokespersons – David Kemboi, James Chirchir and James Sitienei – told the committee that the property in question is their ancestral land.

They want the team help them settle on the land. Prof Kosgey said Moi University has not received any money from Cropsoko despite a five-year lease. In the lease deal, the university is to be paid Sh24 million every year.

He added that the squatters have no right to the land. Prof Kosgey demanded to be informed where the squatters had been since the establishment of the university 40 years ago.

“The university land was donated by East Africa Tanning Extract Company with the assistance of President Daniel arap Moi. The entire land was carved from two parcels that were later amalgamated. At the time of the donation, there were no squatters and no one complained of trespass or land grabbing,” The VC told the parliamentry team.

The lawmakers asked if Moi University followed the right procedure in acquiring the title for the land. Kaloleni MP, Paul Katana, faulted Prof Kosgey for failing to disclose the owners of the company tilling the land. “We have engaged stakeholders who say senior government officials are behind the tilling of the land. We have also been informed that you advertised the lease to hoodwink the public,” Mr Katana told the VC.

Prof Kosgey said Moi University followed due process and is only leasing the land to raise revenue. He added that the institution followed a directive from the Office of the President.

Other members of the committee present were Joses Lelmengit (Emgwen), Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South), Mathias Robi (Kuria West), George Ndung’u (Juja), Thaddeus Nzambia (Kilome), Joseph Gitari (Kirinyaga Central), Anthony Mupe (Rabai) and Gideon Ochanda (Bondo).

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