Lands ministry has partnered with the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (Eacc) in a bid to redeem its image as it wages war on graft in the lands sector.
The EACC has cited unethical conduct such as abuse of office, fraud relating to land purchase, bribery, as well as double registration of land and title deeds as major challenges in ending corruption in the lands ministry.
Speaking during the opening of a workshop on implementation of leadership and integrity regulations for the ministry of Lands at the Kenya Institute of Survey and Mapping on Tuesday, Eacc Chairperson Eliud Wabukala said that some five officers accused of corruption have already been suspended and investigations on other officers are ongoing.
He said that commission has traced and returned to the government land that was corruptly acquired in collusion with ministry officials as well as averted loss of public funds by disrupting corruption networks within the ministry.
“The land sector has a high propensity for corruption and ethical malpractices and Eacc is indeed aware of these corrupt and unethical practices that range from bribery, double registration of titles, fraudulent transaction among others and if not addressed urgently it will impede the achievements envisaged under the economic pillar of Vision 2030,” he said.
Consequently, he said that the ministry had engaged the commission in undertaking the ongoing examination of the ministry’s systems, policies and procedures of work so as to detect and seal loopholes that may allow corruption and unethical conduct to thrive.
The commission has also supported the Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi’s directive to waive fees for land title deed searches saying that it will not only cushion Kenyans from costs but will also reduce bureaucratic procedures in land transactions.
“You however need to ensure that the searches are issued promptly as per your service delivery charters to avoid frustrations by your staff and brokers who are known to operate in such service points,” said Mr Wabukala.
Eacc deputy CEO Michael Mubea said that getting a search for land and valuation is the most tedious job as no one is willing to do it for free.
He said that they have embarked on training and sensitising top officials in the lands ministry who in return do the same to their juniors hence eliminating corruption.
At one time, he said, an official had been caught with 40 title deeds during a raid by the commission.
Prof Kaimenyi, in a statement read by Amb Julius Kandie stated that the ministry is marred with cases of corruption and fraud and can only end if they practiced integrity and ethical leadership.
The CS said that to address corruption, the ministry had requested Eacc to conduct a system audit of the entire ministry and the process is ongoing and will be complete by next month.
“The system audit will identify gaps in our process which would have been used to perpetrate corruption in many instances,” said Prof Kaimenyi.