Land grabbers put Sh2b housing project in jeopardy
Published Wed, May 9th 2018 at 10:03, Updated May 9th 2018 at 10:07 GMT +3
Governor Lee Kinyanjui has asked the Ministry of Lands to revoke title deeds for 22.4 hectares of land in Naivasha earmarked for construction of some 2,000 low-cost houses.
Governor Kinyanjui Tuesday told the Sh2 billion housing project supported by the World Bank was in jeopardy after the land was found to have been irregularly allocated a private developer.
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“We suspect the irregular allocation was carried out by some corrupt officials in the previous regime, and the final transaction of the land carried out last November during the transition period,” he said.
In a letter dated May 4, the governor, through Lands Executive Lucy Kariuki, said the land, registered as Block 2/900, was a public property.
“We have been pursuing this matter since February. We first wrote to the Director of Survey on March 23 to stop the surveying of the land. He responded by stopping the surveying. We have also written to the National Lands Commission,” Mr Kinyanjui said.
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It is believed that some unscrupulous officials in the previous county government conspired with some land officials to irregularly allocate the land that belonged to the defunct Municipal Council of Naivasha.
According to records seen by The Standard at the county government, the parcel was among assets transferred to the county government from the defunct local authority in the transition period.
However, crucial documents for the said block of land could not be traced at the local Ministry of Lands office.
Eng Kariuki yesterday said there were documents to show that the land was transferred to a third party by the defunct municipal council or the county government.
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“The only document available is a lease letter dated November 2017, which appears to have been hurriedly processed during the transition period between the current administration and the previous one,” Wanjiku said.
She said it was not clear how the land was sold.
National Land Commission Chairman Prof Muhammad Swazuri has previously said the issue was being addressed.
Another senior county official, who did not want to be named because he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the county government, said a case on the ownership of the land was pending at the High Court.
The official said some investors had legal documents and claimed they own the land.
The row over the land is likely to affect the implementation of the housing project, which World Bank and some investors are planning to build.
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According Kinyanjui, the county government was to work on the infrastructure at the site while private investors would put up one- and two-bedroom houses that would be mortgaged to low income earners once complete.
“World Bank has agreed to offer technical support, develop designs and offer help in feasibility study,” the governor said.