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CS: We have developed rules to operationalise land laws

The Lands Ministry says regulations to operationalise land laws have been developed and are awaiting approval by Parliament.

The absence of the regulations has created a loophole that enables cartels to subvert the law and take over people’s property by targeting those whose land leases have expired.

In a statement, Lands Cabinet Secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi said that a transition clause is still operational until the regulations guiding the Land Act, Land Registration Act, National Land Commission Act and Community Land Act are effected.

There are however, gazette guidelines that give procedures on extension and renewal of leases.

National Lands Commission official Abdulkadir Khalif said there is need to fast-track the approval of the regulations.

LEASES

Nairobi’s city centre, Parklands, Westlands, Ngara and Mombasa have been the most affected areas where cartels have been scouting for land whose leases have either expired or are about to expire.

Some private developers have been colluding with ministry officials to fraudulently process extensions or renew land leases.

According to the Prof Kaimenyi, a taskforce formed to look into the mystery surrounding land leasing from 2010 to 2016 is required submit its report on Thursday.

The taskforce is chaired by lands expert Ibrahim Mwathane.

READ: Family: Fraudsters out to grab our prime land

Prof Kaimenyi also said his ministry has enhanced the storage of crucial land documents.

Some of the occupants of leasehold properties in the city have complained of missing or hidden files.

SECURE RECORDS

“To secure the records, the ministry has scanned all correspondence plot files. This will ensure that systems, procedures and security checks are in place to improve safety of land documents used in processing leases,” said the CS who added that this will eliminate the issue of ‘missing’ files.”

The minister warned officers on the ministry against facilitating illegal procedures to dispossess rightful owners of their properties.

“If there are unscrupulous officers who are facilitating any illegalities of any nature, they will be disciplined in accordance with the law,” Prof Kaimenyi said.

CONTROLLED ACCESS

In June, the ministry announced controlled access to sensitive offices at Ardhi House in the war against cartels.

The biometric access control system captures up-to-date data of all visitors and the offices visited. Access to sensitive rooms has in the past been blamed for loss or alteration of land records, following collusion between some workers and outsiders.

Loss of files and bribery were blamed on uncontrolled access by outsiders, who collect bribes on behalf of some staff.

The ministry has been criticised for issuing fake leasehold certificates that has seen some genuine land owners in Nairobi ejected and their property destroyed by “new landowners”.

Con men take advantage of loophole in law to take over property whose leases have expired.

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