Gideon denies owning land in Mau Forest


Published on 04/04/2009

By Standard on Saturday Team

Prominent persons accused of illegally acquiring large tracts of land in Mau Forest have denied the claims.

Former Baringo Central MP Gideon Moi yesterday said the taskforce appointed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Mau Forest Complex conservation should have offered him an opportunity to be heard.

“If I had been offered an opportunity to be heard, I would have clarified to the taskforce that I have never been allocated or given land in the Mau forest,” he said in a Press statement.

A local daily published a list of 25 individuals said to have been given 500 hectares of the forestland.

The taskforce report recommends that all settlers be cleared out of the forest, with small holders given alternative land or compensation.

Also mentioned in the report is Mr Joshua Kulei, Mr Mark Too, former lands boss Sammy Mwaita and Mr Hosea Kiplagat.

Gideon said the report was diversionary and aimed at silencing those who have been speaking for the people of Mau.

Damaged reputation

He said: “I would like to assure the people of Mau that I will continue to articulate their interests.”

Kiplagat asked the newspaper to apologise for “damaging his reputation” or face him in court.

“I am consulting my lawyers on our next course of action and I do not want the whole world to believe I am a land grabber,” he added.

He said the news report was malicious and targeted members of a certain community.

“If Mau land allocations have to be reversed, then we have to start from the time of Kenyatta,” he said.

Kiplagat admitted he owns 20 hectares of land near Mau Forest but added he was allocated the piece legally.

He said he was willing to relocate if offered another parcel elsewhere.

Too asked the Government to take back the land if at all it is on record that he owns it.

“I am completely surprised that I am among those named as owning land in Mau Forest,” he told the Press in Eldoret.

Investigate the matter

He said he never applied for land allocation in the forest and neither was he informed he had been allocated land there.

“This goes to demonstrate the kind of fraud that went on at the Ministry of Lands using names of people perceived to be influential at the time,” he added.

He demanded that the then Commissioner of Lands, Mwaita, who is the Baringo Central MP, be investigated over the matter.

“He should be able to tell the country how these allocations were done,” he said.

He added: “My support for conservation of our natural resources is very clear. If indeed I was allocated land as the taskforce claims, I would like them to take it back to the Government immediately to conserve Mau.”

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