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Kenya:Non-citizen land owners told to show proof of ownership

National Land Commission chairman Mohammed Swazuri. Dr Swazuri said it had come to the Commission’s attention that some offices, and authorities have been disposing such land “without either informing or consulting” his office.

National Land Commission chairman Mohammed Swazuri. Dr Swazuri said it had come to the Commission’s attention that some offices, and authorities have been disposing such land “without either informing or consulting” his office.

All foreigners owning land in the country have been asked to present their land documents to the National Land Commission.

The Commission chairman Mohammad Swazuri in a newspaper notice for Friday said non-citizens should immediately furnish them with documents such as lease agreements, letters of allotment and title deeds.
The foreigners are also expected to regularise their land ownership or use their status to conform to the requirements of the Constitution.

The law provides that a person who is not a citizen may hold land on the basis of leasehold tenure only and any lease should not exceed ninety-nine years, regardless of any document which purports to confer on a non-citizen an interest in land for a period longer than that.

It also states that property held in trust will be regarded as being held by a citizen only if all the beneficial interest of the trust is held by persons who are citizens.

The call, the chairman said, is “purely” meant to streamline the land sector to conform to the Constitution.

“This notice is in no way intended to disposes any non-citizen of their rightful occupation, ownership and use of land in Kenya. Neither should it be seen as scaring away such persons and other potential foreigner investors,” he said.

The Commission asked the foreigners to present the papers only to their Ardhi House offices in Nairobi and not any other government office.

“Due to the sensitivity and confidentiality of the exercise, we sincerely insist that documents can only be brought to our headquarters,” the notice read.

At the same time, the Commission in a separate notice addressed to land registries, County Commissioners, District Commissioners, Governors and other public agencies warned of disposing of public land.

Dr Swazuri said it had come to the Commission’s attention that some offices, and authorities have been disposing such land “without either informing or consulting” his office.

“It should be understood that under the Land Act and the Constitution, it is only the National Land Commission which is mandated, on behalf of the national or county governments, to allocate public land, and even to sanction conversion of public land to any other category,” the notice read in part.

He called on the offices in question to suspend allocation of public land within their custody or areas of jurisdiction until guidelines are in place, following consultations with the relevant stakeholders.
The Chairman said the Commission will soon issue such guidelines and procedures as dictated by the law.

-Nation

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