Govt now orders people living on public land to vacate

Anyone currently occupying public land should vacate it with immediate effect, Lands Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome has said.

In what appears to be a catch-up move to prevent more Kenyans from losing their properties like in the Mavoko land case, the CS said the vacation procedures will be implemented by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Anti-Recovery Agency (ARA) and the National Police Service.

Ms Wahome, who was recently transferred to the Ministry, also warned Kenyans that having a share certificate was not enough to claim ownership of any piece of land.

“The ministry wishes to send out a strong message that any person on public land should vacate with immediate effect. I wish to advise the public that there are people out here conning members of the public to buy land using share certificates. Share certificates are not legal documents to confirm ownership,” Ms Wahome said.

The CS, who was accompanied by PS Nixon Korir, urged Kenyans to do their due diligence by checking the status of the plots they want to buy at the Ministry of Lands, where they will be given maps by the surveyors.

With regard to the Mavoko land that has been in the news recently, Ms Wahome and Mr Korir said that records at the Lands Ministry clearly show that it belongs to the East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC).

“Any other documents purported to be held in respect to the said land do not originate from this office. The ministry has already forwarded the relevant documents to the office of the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to support them in the ongoing investigations,” she further said.

According to the CS, it was clear that the people who had settled on the Mavoko land did not have the right documents to prove that they were the owners of the land they were being evicted from, despite having paid for it.

Interestingly, until a week ago, some of the people occupying the land were paying money meant for the acquisition of title deeds after being asked to do so by the management of Aimi Ma Lukenya Sacco.

Asked if the ministry would compensate the people whose structures were demolished, Ms Wahome said the people who fraudulently sold the land to the hapless evictees should compensate them.

“Those who sold the parcel of land knowing very well that they did not own it are the people who should do the compensation,” she said.

On the question of who ordered the eviction, the ministry distanced itself, saying it does not enforce demolitions.

Mr Korir said ministry officials were tasked with investigating the title deed presented by Aimi Ma Lukenya and it was found that the signature was forged and belonged to a former ministry employee who died in the 1980s.

At Athi River Police Station yesterday, detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) continued to gather information from victims of the demolitions.

DCI officers from headquarters, in collaboration with their counterparts from Athi River Sub-county, set up 10 reporting stations, including registration tents, outside the main office.

The 24-hour exercise began at 10am, with victims of the ongoing demolitions arriving, seemingly dejected.

Before they could be registered as victims, they had to produce plot certificates issued by the Aimi Ma Lukenya Society under Komarok Ranching and Limited, showing the size of the plots and where payments had been made.

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