Biometric system to help curb graft at Lands ministry

The Lands ministry is betting on controlled access to sensitive offices at Ardhi House in a new war against cartels.

The system is expected to provide access to selected staff with special entry cards. It will record their details.

Lands and Physical Planning Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said the biometric access control system (BACS) will capture up-to-date data of all visitors and the offices visited.

“It will also track arrival and departure time of employees, while enabling top officials to know how long it takes to serve a customer at a particular station,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

He spoke when he launched the BACS platform in Nairobi this week.

Unfettered access to sensitive rooms has in the past been blamed for loss or alteration of land records, following collusion between some workers and outsiders.

“Everyone will have to use their fingerprints to register at the main entrance while staff will use the biometric access cards to open restricted doors. This will ensure employees arrive early, as required, and stay at their workstations serving Kenyans during official hours,” he said.

Prof Kaimenyi said the system would be closely monitored and that suspicious visits by brokers would be checked.

The BACS system, he said, would also be used to pursue people who have evaded arrest in connection with various crimes at Ardhi House.

Recently, the ministry came under severe criticism over issuance of fake leasehold certificates that saw some genuine land owners in Nairobi ejected and their property destroyed by “new landowners” who used the fake papers to obtain eviction orders from court.

“Every individual’s details will be captured real-time. Our IT systems and physical land records are now safe. There will also be CCTV cameras at the offices,” he said.

Loss of files and bribery were blamed on uncontrolled access by outsiders, who collect bribes on behalf of some staff. The new system also blocks swapping of identification badges as they will be used together with an individual’s fingerprints.

Other measures taken was an audit of processes by officers of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, whose report is due for release this month.

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