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Laboso refutes claims tea farm part of forest

By Gilbert Kimutai | Published Thu, September 6th 2018 at 00:00, Updated September 5th 2018 at 23:13 GMT +3

Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso when she appeared to answer on audit queries before the Senate Public Accounts Committee at Parliament on Wednesday 20/06/18. [Photo: Boniface Okendo/Standard]

Governor Joyce Laboso has dismissed attempts by Kenya Forest Service to repossess land belonging to Embomos tea farm.

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The governor, while visiting Embomos ward where the county tea farm is, said claims that the land was part of Mau Forest were misleading.

She said the county had documentation to show for ownership of the farm.

“Embomos tea farm is not in a forest area and we have a title deed dating back to 1994 for the same, and therefore will continue doing our work there without fear,” she said.

She asked workers at the farm to stay put, saying the farm was degazetted long time ago from being part of Mau Forest.

Notice to vacate

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“We do not want disturbance and County Commissioner Geoffrey Omonding should have asked before taking the step to ask us out of the farm,” she said.

Two weeks ago the Kenya Forest Service issued the county government with a notice to vacate the farm.

But the county wrote to the local ecosystem conservator Francis Misonge asking him to stop interfering with work at the farm.

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Chief Officer for Lands, Housing and Urban Planning Richard Sigei said the county inherited the land from the defunct Bomet County Council.

Mr Sigei, in a letter seen by The Standard, said the land parcel LR.No.1962 was hived off the Mau Forest through gazette notice No.6633 of October 21, 1994.

Mr Omonding said the Government would take action against land officials who conspired to degazette the forest land.

Embomos is one of the tea farms the Government is targeting for allegedly encroaching on Mau forest.

Also being targeted is land belonging to Sinendet Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society.

Nyayo Tea Zone allegedly sold forest land to the co-operative society.

Omonding said the Government sought to recover at least 1,000 acres of Mau Forest land encroached by the two farms.

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