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New team to address land grabbing, cartels

The Ministry of Lands will launch a taskforce to investigate processing and renewal of leases, to solve the problem of land grabbing.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said the team will probe the legitimacy of title issuance for the last six years.

“The taskforce will come up with recommendations on how to prevent fraudulent processing and renewal of leases and actions to be taken against those who have been involved in fraud,” he said.

Prof Kaimenyi said the ministry has introduced a biometric access control system which will be commissioned in January 2017.

He pointed out that there have been a lot of land malpractices and cartels working with officials to prevent investigations.

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“We have transferred members of staff in nine land registries accused by members of the public of being corrupt.

“Recently, we also transferred all security personnel who have been working in the ministry because there were allegations that they had become compromised by cartels, and were not willing to assist in investigations into malpractices and arrest of people caught with fake land documents,” he said.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

The Lands boss said the ministry is also working with the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to develop strategies to tackle fraud.

Furthermore, he said the ministry also invited the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) to audit their activities with a view of identifying weaknesses.

On the Westland’s house demolition, Prof Kaimenyi said the matter is being sorted by the DCI.

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“We have handed over the matter to the CID and the EACC to carry out further investigations,” he said.

National Land Commission Vice Chair Abigael Mbagaya-Mukoilwe said there have been cases of reallocation of title deeds, which the commission is addressing.

“The courts should give the commission time to respond to cases of land grabbing before issuing restriction orders because land grabbing has become rampant in the country,” she said.

At the same time, the Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko said his office will work with the government to ensure investigations of land grabbing are carried out without obstruction.

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EACC Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo said they have been mapping all cartels and will start addressing the problem in January.

Nairobi County Secretary Robert Ayisi, however, said the county government was not consulted about the current renewal of leases.

“The county government should be included in the land’s taskforce and in the development and regulation of the new land leases to prevent conflicting decisions,” Dr Ayisi said.

They were speaking during a meeting with a group of the Asian Community at Ardhi House in Nairobi.

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