Lands officials arrested for corrupt deals

By Peterson Githaiga

Kajiado, Kenya: Police in Kajiado are holding two suspects in connection with illegal land transactions in the county.

One of the suspects is believed to be the personal assistant of a seniorLands officer, who has gone underground.

According to the County Police Commander Tito Kilonzi, the PA was arrested Thursday afternoon in Kajiado town.

He was reportedly found in possession of hundreds of title deeds, Green Cards and Kenya Revenue Authority assessment documents.

The documents are said to have been transmitted to the Lands registry from a private office in Kitengela.

Police also arrested another employee at the Kajiado Lands office. Mr Kilonzi termed the arrests a breakthrough in the fight against corruption.

In July last year, the county government stopped all land transactions, citing graft in the Kajiado Lands registry and after many complaints reached the governor’s office that some land was owned by more than one individual.

On Friday last week, an arrest warrant was issued against County Lands Registrar Jonathan Koskei at the Mavoko court but he has not been found.

Thursday, County Commissioner Kobia Kamau claimed a senior Lands officer at the county was operating parallel offices in Kitengela and Nairobi. He alleged that for more than two months, the officer has not gone to the Kajiado Lands office but was operating from another office in Kitengela where double allocation of title deeds has been going on.

The county commissioner told The Standard that three weeks ago, more than 300 title deeds suspected to be irregular were issued to the Mailwa Group Ranch.

Threat to investors

“We must bring sanity back to the land sector. We request all those who have illegal deeds to bring them to us so that we don’t have to go for them,” he ordered.

The commissioner said he would not sit back while his officers continued to break the law and promised to crack the whip on those corrupt ones shaming the Government.

“We are not going to negotiate with land grabbers. They have no choice but to pack and go,” he said.

Kamau praised Governor David Nkidianye for his efforts to restore sanity to the Lands Department. “Land issues in this county need an urgent and proper solution to make it a safe place for investors,” he said.