The National Land Commission starts taking back state land grabbed in Moi era

Demolition of houses at Diamond Park Estate in South B, Nairobi on May 21. The homes were built on land grabbed from Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute.

Demolition of houses at Diamond Park Estate in South B, Nairobi on May 21. The homes were built on land grabbed from Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute.

The National Land Commission has started repossessing grabbed plots acquired during the Moi era in an exercise that will affect Redeemed Gospel Church, Tena residents and multi-billion shilling South B land.

Commission chairman Mohamed Swazuri indicated in a notice that parcels of land to be repossessed include those that were hived off Karura Forest in Kiambu County and Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park in Kwale County.

Those who acquired the land illegally have built housing estates, shopping malls, apartments, churches and other facilities.

The commission has also recommended that investors who built homes on a disputed South B land linked to state-owned Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (KEVEVAPI) be offered titles, saving the demolition of property worth billions of shillings.

This will offer relief to Diamond Park, which is selling home units at Sh25 million, the 15,000-seater Winners Chapel auditorium and two other residential estates, Banque Villa and Executive Housing.

“Regularise existing titles…KEVEVAPI to be issued with title for the remaining allocated land,” said Dr Swazuri in a notice that will run in the Press tomorrow.

Grabbers had left KEVEVAPI with only 72 acres of land from its 243-acre parcel, which was fraudulently acquired in the mid-1990s, subdivided and systematically allocated at throw away prices.

Government bulldozers on May pulled down more than 25 houses under construction by Executive Housing.

The Agriculture ministry has been mulling over the option of offering the grabbed land at market prices to the current owners who say they acquired the government property from former powerful politicians and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

READ: State offers to sell South B dispute land

The commission revoked 25 titles in Tena Estate, which is located east of Nairobi. Others parcels to be reverted to the public include part of Changamwe Primary School in Mombasa which was sold to Turf Developers Ltd, Uasin Gishu Secondary School in Eldoret and Kenya Medical Training College land in Nairobi sold to Robert Mutiso.

Parcels of land belonging to the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries in Kisumu have also been earmarked for repossession. The title of a land in Umoja Estate, Nairobi, which is associated with Redeemed Gospel Church, has also been revoked.

The parcel was the subject of an ownership dispute pitting a pastor who had allegedly defected from the church and Redeemed Gospel Church.

“Section 14 encourages national government, a county government, a community or an individual to submit memoranda or appear before it as it continues to review all grants and dispositions (titles) to public land to establish their propriety or legality,” says the commission in the notice.
The restoration of City Park also got a boost after the commission cancelled 14 titles.

The park’s 90 acres shrunk to 66.19 hectares when the northern and the southern tips were hived off and allocated in 1997.

The park is the only one within the capital city’s boundaries that has an indigenous forest and Aga Khan Trust for Culture wants to rehabilitate it. But allocation to private investors has threatened the recovery.

In Karura forest, where the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) invested more than Sh1.1 billion of workers’ money, the commission cancelled titles of 24 parcels of land.

In the case of Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park, a Swiss national Alessandro Torriani who acquired islands in the park, is seeking to sell them at Sh1.5 billion on claims he is in possession of a 99-year leasehold title deed. The commission stopped the deal.

The titles have been revoked following an audit that started in March that saw those affected given a chance to submit any relevant documents on how they acquired the question parcels of land.

-Business Daily



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