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10,000 hidden land files found during the ongoing audit of records at the Kenya Lands ministry

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu at the central registry in Ardhi House, Nairobi, where auditors discovered files hidden by ministry staff

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu at the central registry in Ardhi House, Nairobi, where auditors discovered files hidden by ministry staff

Some 10,000 files are missing from the lands registry, an ongoing 10-day audit of records at the Lands ministry has discovered.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu  who on Sunday conducted the media on a tour of the Lands registry at Ardhi House appeared to point an accusing finger at some ministry officials whom she blamed for colluding to frustrate and make it hard for the ministry to institute reforms and serve Kenyans better.

“I have heard many people make noise around that the closure is denying the government revenue and delaying service delivery. The truth is that the government was losing more than twice the revenue collected here to corruption cartels,” Ngilu said.

The cabinet secretary said the exercise will be completed on May 19 as earlier planned and warned her critics whom she attributed to being sympathizers of the cartels that they will soon have nowhere to hide once the digitalization of the registry is completed.

“The  ministry must now conduct good and clean business that benefits all Kenyans not few individuals, this people have no business here and their days are numbered” Ngilu said.

“In the past it has been difficult to identify where a file is , who has the file , which office and what action is being done to the file and as a result many would not get the services that they badly needed”

Speaking after conducting a press tour of Nairobi and central registries at Ardhi House on Sunday, she assured Kenyans that they will be able to recover the lost time during the closure.

“Many Kenyans have been complaining of the tedious process involved at our offices as it took over three months to wait for a file to be processed at the Land registry. The 10-day closure will however help in providing more efficient services for the general public,” she said.

She indicated that Kenyans will not have to go to their offices to obtain forms as the ministry will avail them online when the offices are opened from Monday next week.

“With the modernisation of the registry, people will be able to find valuation form for stamp duty online and they will only fill and leave them with us to take prompt actions,” she said.

The clean-up process is being done by the ministry officials with the help of 200 students of Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology who work on day and night shifts.

National Land Commission sued Ngilu for the temporary closure of key offices at the ministry saying the exercise was preventing the commission from discharging its constitutional functions and denying Kenyans the opportunity to be served.

The processes that have stalled for the period of closure include registration of land documents, searches, stamp duty payments, land rate payment and application for valuation and processing, payment of allotments, application for subdivision of land, settlement programmes and land adjudication.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who made an impromptu visit at the Lands ministry however lauded the effort by Ngilu as he noted that the lands registry desires complete reforms to get rid of corruption cartels which has been rampant in the ministry.

Currently issuance of title deeds countrywide has been suspended.

Last week Ngilu opened the national titling centre at Survey of Kenya that will see Kenyans get titles within seven days upon application in an exercise targeting to issue Kenyans with one million land ownership documents by the end of the year.

The digital process enables Kenyans to make land rent payments, apply for titles and application for valuations and processing online.

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Woman arrested for ‘stealing’ crucial records from lands office

Security agents at the Lands ministry are interrogating a member of staff allegedly caught sneaking files out of the registry at Ardhi House during an ongoing audit.

The woman was reportedly apprehended on Friday while trying to tiptoe out of her office with the crucial documents.

She was taken to the Capitol Hill Police Station where she was released on bond, pending further investigation.

Details on the files she was carting away are yet to be made public.

“This seems to be something that has been ongoing here and that is why we want to know from her if she knows more before we take further action on her,” said an official aware of the probe.

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu on Sunday conducted the media on a tour of the lands registry and said the audit will be completed on May 19 as earlier planned.

“I have heard many people make noise around that the closure is denying the Government revenue and delaying service delivery. The truth is that the Government was losing more than twice the revenue collected here to corruption cartels,” she said.

Ngilu claimed cartels will have nowhere to hide once the digitalisation of the registry is completed.

“In the past it has been difficult to identify where a file is, who has it, which office and what action is being done to the file and as a result many would not get the services they badly needed,” she said.

She said Kenyans will not have to go to their offices to obtain forms as the ministry will make them available online when the offices are opened Monday next week.

“With the modernisation of the registry, people will be able to find valuation forms for stamp duty online and they will only fill and leave them with us to take prompt action,” she said.

The clean-up process is being done by the ministry officials with the help of 200 students from Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology who work day and night shifts.

-The Standard

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