Kisii and Nyamira counties are emerging as the most dangerous destinations for investment. A gang of criminal network that specializes in land grabbing pauses risk to investment in the two populous counties.
Targeted for grabbing are pieces of land purchased but not developed by Kenyans who reside in the Diaspora.
Tragically, this criminal network of land grabbers works with top lands officials in Kisii and Nyamira counties to steal the targeted private land from the innocent citizens.
Peter Makori, an award-winning international journalist tested the bitter truth of the criminal underworld of land grabbers when he returned to Kenya to find out that the land whose title he’s owned for the last 16 years had been registered in the name of a person he has never met, let alone knowing who he (the new purported landowner) was.
The most baffling aspect of the theft of Makori’s land is that the transfer of his land was purportedly effected while he was away in the USA.
Land transaction rules require that the owner must surrender the original title deed in order to facilitate creation of the new one.
Makori said his land that was transferred last year was a subject of a High Court dispute. In 2012, Makori moved to the High to protect his land after someone tried to steal it. The then Kisii Resident Judge, Ruth Sitati, issued restraining orders against the trespassers until the matter is heard and determined.
In October last year, someone destroyed Makori’s fence and erected his. Documents at Kisii Lands office, show that the land fraudsters used fake documents to steal the journalist’s land.
Makori said he bought the land in 1999 and received the title deed in January 2001. Since then, Makori states that he had never transferred the land to anybody at any one time.
The land in question is at Kisii municipality.
Makori said that he had discovered that targeted land is located in Kisii town and it’s environs, but notably the most affected are, Ombaba estate, Jogoo, Nyamataro, Mwembe, Nyabururu, Nyanchwa, and Nyangena.
Sometime toward the end of last year, he was informed that strangers had invaded his land, removed the barbed wire fence and erected theirs. “That sounded like a Hollywood Movie to me”He said.
Before long the whole field was tilled. Since He knew that his title deed was intact, He was not moved.
Nevertheless, as lawyers would advise, if you learn that someone has invaded and forcefully taken over your property and you sleep on your rights, you’ll lose it. So he instructed his lawyer to apply and received restraining orders from the High Court against someone he suspected was behind this invasion. But digging continued.
This forced him to suspend all his work and studies, and travelled back to Kenya to follow up the matter with the respective authorities.
When he arrived Kisii, he went to Kisii Lands Office to confirm the status of title deed. It was confirmed the land was “transferred” to someone else whose name he had never heard.
Digging deeper, he was informed that he had “transferred” the title deed to his landlady last year and she in turn “sold” it to the new “owner”! This is despite the fact that during that time, he was away in the US and his landlady (the one who sold me the land about 20 years ago) was deceased.!
As he got alarmed and wondered aloud what this means, one villager after the other beckoned him and said, “bwamwabo, nainche naro ayio andetire igaa! My land was sold despite the fact that I have the original title deed!” Translated(My friend your case is similar to mine and that’s why I’m also here)
It’s alleged there’s a gang operating between Kisii town, Nyangena region, Ombata (Gesonso area) and some high profile areas of Kisii Municipality like Daraja Mbili, Nyabururu, Nyamataro, etc.
The alleged criminals have made a lot of blood money and are vicious. They’re seeking civic and parliamentary seats to cement their criminal underworld!
Mr. Makori went further to say that even in failed states like Columbia, Guatemala, Peru, etc, the sanctity of title is not defiled in the manner seen here. It is a shocking reality!
You may recall that in the recent past, gangs have emerged in Nairobi’s high profile estates where they invade private homes with Bulldozers and bring down residential homes with impunity. No one in government has been alarmed except Mike Sonko, the Nairobi Senator, who’s been fighting these gangs using his own means after being informed by the affected owners.
He was informed that the person who signed off the transfer of his title deed is a former deputy Lands registrar who is now stationed in Nyamira. And has vowed to use all legal available avenues to expose him.
Mr. Makori is also advising all Kenyan residing in the Diaspora to move very fast and secure their properties before this fraudsters encroach on them.