Land report delays, boon for cons

Property Law with Harold Ayodo

Prospective investors are withholding fortunes hoping the Government will act on land fraudsters.

Alleged cases of irregularly acquired and allocated land are media fodder as the State drags its feet to crack the whip on the culprits.

Furthermore, several reports by commissions of inquiry into illegal and irregular allocation of public land continue to gather dust on Government shelves. A week barely passes before the media runs stories about private developers allegedly evicting people from their rightful homes.

Cases of faithful taking to the streets alleging that their property has been grabbed are not new. The private developers mostly have their way as they engage security forces to keep watch on the controversial constructions to completion. In some cases, the developers may have a court order authorising them to erect buildings on site. Such controversies over ownership of land are keeping several willing investors away due to uncertainties.


For instance, an investor may erect an apartment in Eastlands or high-end areas before the Government says the plot was irregularly acquired or allocated.

There are also palatial homes and commercial buildings in the upmarket that Lands minister James Orengo certified illegal last year but is yet to act.

The minister spoke tough on the buildings that had encroached into waterways before warning the proprietors of destruction. It would be a good starting point for the State to implement reports by commissions of inquiry into illegal and irregular allocation of public land, for instance, the Ndungu Commission appointed by President Kibaki on June 30, 2003 chaired by Paul Ndungu.

illegal allocations

The report cited irregularities included usurpation of Presidential powers by the Commissioner of Lands and use of forged letters and documents to allocate public land.

It also cited illegal transfer of undeveloped leasehold land, allocation of land compulsorily acquired for public purposes and double allocations. There were also illegal allocations of private land surrendered to the Government and allocations of public land by the Commissioner of Lands.

However, just like several other commissions on land, the adversely mentioned people argued that they mainly relied on documentary evidence. They claimed principals of natural justice were not followed during the hearings arguing they were condemned unheard.

According to former Law Society of Kenya chairman Tom Ojienda the President is under no obligation in law to implement the Ndungu Commission report.


-The writer is a lawyer and journalist


Related Topics

land report