Kenya National Land Commission suspends public land deals pending new rules

National Land Commission chairman Mohammed Abdalla Swazuri at a past function

National Land Commission chairman Mohammed Abdalla Swazuri at a past function

The National Land Commission has suspended the allocation, transfer and conversion of public lands indefinitely pending new guidelines.

The commission, in a public notice, said the it had learnt that of some officers and authorities who were disposing of public land without its prior clearance. The commission said that it was the only agency with power to allocate public land.

“The commission now wishes to request all the concerned offices, officers, and authorities to suspend any allocation of public land within their custody and/or areas of jurisdiction until further guidelines are in place, and consultations are concluded,” says the commission.

The commission addressed the notice to all land registries, County Commissioners, DCs, governors and public agencies.

The directive comes at a time when county government have embarked on initiatives to attract investors with land as one of key incentives. Recently, there have been concerns over the disposal of public properties in some parts of the country during this transition period.

(Read:Non-citizen land owners told to show proof of ownership)

In Nakuru County, there were over a cartel bent on plundering assets belonging to parastatals with leaders in the county led by governor Kinuthia Mbugua promising to protect public property from being auctioned at throwaway prices.

In April, Transition Authority chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi told the Business Daily that many public properties had been grabbed and the committee would seek to ascertain those yet to be returned.

“The public in the counties know who has grabbed which asset. If the grabbers do not return the properties, they will be prosecuted,” said Mr Wamwangi.

Nairobi governor Evans Kidero said last month his administration would offer investors free land. However, what is not clear is the criteria to identify and allocate the land and the investors. He said a land bank would be created and free plots allocated to those interested in building industries or other employment-creating ventures.

Machakos County, in its first investor conference last month, also promised investors free land as a way of attracting investment. Governor Alfred Mutua disclosed that he had allocated 50 acres for a film city.

In March, then Public Service head Francis Kimemia directed all PSs to suspend all major contracts and payments in excess of Sh500,000 as a measure to protect the public from shoddy deals during the transition period.

The National Land Commission which is led by Dr Mohammed Swazuri was gazetted in February after a High Court order that directed the President to gazette the officials.

Other commissioners are Dr Tomiik Konyimbi, Dr Rose Musyoka, Dr Samuel Tororei, Mr Silas Kinoti, Ms Abigael Mbagaya, Ms Muthoni Njogu, Mr Clement Lenanchuru and Mr Adan Khalif.

The land question has been so emotive and it formed one of the main campaign agenda in the last General Election.

-Business Daily



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