National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri, Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina and 12 others have been arraigned in Nairobi after spending the weekend in cells.
Prof Swazuri, Mr Maina and their co-accused were charged with the conspiracy to commit corruption over the loss of Sh221,375,00 by the Kenya Railways Corporation.
They were charged alongside Salome Munubi, Toma Aziz Chavangi, Francis Mugo, Victor Kariuki, Elijah Nyamu and John Mwaniki.
Also in the dock were Carolyne Kitui, Peter Mburu,, Gladys Mwikali, Obadiah Mbugua, David Some and Esther Some.
Three companies— Dasahe Investment Limited, Keibukwo Investment Limited and Olomotit Estate Limited— were also listed alongside the accused persons.
They separately faced other charges of abuse of office, unlawful acquisition of public property, neglect of official duty and unlawful disposal of public property.
The taxpayers’ money was lost in fraudulent compensation the land the government acquired to build the Standard Gauge Railway.
The NLC and railways officials are accused of buying Kenya Railways land, public property, and selling it to the government.
They all denied committing the offences, which were allegedly committed between July 1, 1999 and June 2018 in Nairobi.
The prosecution termed the charges as “serious offences which should be treated as crimes against humanity and Kenyans in general” and asked the court to deny the accused bond.
“Corruption is a cancer that government has finally acknowledged, court needs to give relevance to the gravity of the offence,” the prosecution said.
The defence pleaded with court to have them released on bond, saying the criminal charges relate to a civil matter.
The accused, defence lawyers said, are all public officials and cannot run away from the jurisdiction of the court.
The court said it will rule on the bond application at 3pm.