It has now emerged that President Uhuru Kenyatta was duped into presenting dummy title deeds at Jacaranda Grounds May last year.
The revelations emerged during a Nairobi County Assembly Planning Committee sitting where it was revealed that during the ceremony where President Kenyatta presented 50,000 titles, only 50 titles were genuine.
Appearing before the committee chaired by Waithaka MCA Anthony Kiragu, City Hall Lands and Housing minister Charles Kerich was hard pressed to explain who lied to the President into unknowingly presiding over the handing over of the titles when only 50 were ready.
“As a committee, we want to know who lied to the President that 50,000 titles were ready whereas that was not the truth,” said Mr Kiragu.
Mr Kerich confirmed that only 623 title deeds have been issued to residents of Eastlands since the Head of State launched the exercise last year.
While announcing that he had issued 50,000 title deeds to the residents in a move aimed at unlocking more than Sh20 billion through business and investment, Mr Kenyatta also promised that 100,000 more titles will be released by the end of 2018.
Mr Kerich, though admitting that the process has taken longer than expected, said that City Hall was set to issue only 30, 000 titles with the rest being handled by the national government through the Ministry of Lands.
Governor Mike Sonko is set to issue 423 title deeds that have already been processed with another 1,200 having been forwarded to the acting county attorney David Oseko for sealing and signing.
Beneficiaries of the titles, mostly in the Eastern parts of Nairobi included land acquired through site schemes, land buying companies, the National Social Security Fund, civil servant housing schemes, those in informal settlements and public facilities.
“There is a misconception regarding the number of title deeds to be provided by the county government. The 50,000 title deeds to be issued last year were a collective from the county as well as the ministry of lands and we did that figure based on a realistic target we saw could be met,” Mr Kerich said.
Put to task by Mr Kiragu why five law firms engaged by the county government to manage the titling process continued to collect money from residents, Mr Kerich said City Hall’s legal department is understaffed and lacks capacity.
“If we chose to do it internally it would probably take us 10 years. The fee of Sh30,000 was also the bare minimum that the firms could charge and we felt it was fair,” said Mr Kerich.
Mr Kiragu said the ward representatives have been receiving complaints from the public that the five law firms have been collecting money from members of the public for eight months yet only 623 titles have been issued.
But Mr Kerich blamed political interference, accusing leaders of telling residents not to pay the Sh30,000 fee.