A decades old government institute risks closure if a move to take over its land is not stopped.
Details have emerged that the land on which the Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) stands has been subdivided.
According to maps from the Survey of Kenya approved on June 13, 2017, the 200 acres have been subdivided into at least 10 parcels.
Among the parcels of land include LR No 81/44 measuring 22.82 hectares, LR No 81/41 measuring 16.82 hectares and LR No 81/35 (5.31 hectares). Other parcels include LR No 81/42 (3.43 hectares), LR No 81/45(2.07 hectares), LR No 81/37(1.63 hectares) and LR NO 81/37(1.34 hectares).
Sources at the Ministry of Lands say the transfer process is ongoing, but it remains unclear who the owners of the parcels are. The source said ownership will be established once the process is complete and title deeds issued.
This could now mean the fate of the institute’s bid to have the land on its name could have been sealed.
An now it has emerged the institute could lose out on a multibillion-shilling expansion project if the land dispute is not resolved immediately.
KIST is one of the three technical institutes earmarked to benefit from funding by the German government to the tune of 20 million Euros (Sh2.2 billion) under the Kenya German TechnicalIndustrial Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training initiative.
But one of the conditions for the institute to benefit from the project is that the title deed should be in its name.
Others set to benefit from the programme include Nairobi and Thika technical training institutes.
The Kenyan and German governments signed an agreement on the project on February 28.
Under the initiative, KIST has been identified as a centre of excellence for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
The institute is under the initiative set to benefit massive infrastructure and investment industrial mechatronics while the Nairobi Technical Training Institute will gain from automatic mechatronics.
Thika Technical Training Institute, on the other hand, will get funding for automotive body building/welding.
However, all this could now be just a dream for KIST.
During a meeting held on March 8 at the German Development Cooperation offices in Nairobi, details emerged that the German government is contemplating picking another institute for the project if KIST fails to surrender the title deed in its name.
The same day, the Cooperation wrote to National Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge inquiring about the status of KIST title deed.
In the letter, the Cooperation said the loan agreement between the two countries stipulates that the Kenyan government shall ensure the premises where new buildings under the project will be built are the property of the beneficiary institutes.
It said a beneficiary institute shall either have a property title or enter into a legal, valid and binding agreement that guarantees the right of full, unlimited access to and usage of premises.
“Currently, neither KFW nor GIZ can start any activity before the legal requirement described above is met. Going closer to implementation activities we would need to see this requirement fulfilled latest by June 1, 2019. After this date we would have to agree on a different technical training institute to replace KIST in the program,” reads the letter.
The institute’s Board of Trustees and Board of Governors have not been seeing eye to eye over management of the assets, including land, which they have been tussling over.
Last year, reports emerged that an entity named The Registered Trustees of Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology had allegedly taken over the college’s assets, including land.
The BOG, in a letter dated November 9, 2018, demanded the trustees transfer the land back to the institute.
“As the chairman of the Board of Governors, I’m asking the trustees to return the land so that we can execute the mandate delegated to us by the Ministry of Education. Public interest must be put before individual and group interests,” BOG Chairman Josiah Kariu told the Saturday Standard.
The trustees on November 19, 2018 wrote back to the board, maintaining the BOT is a legally constituted body incorporated under the provisions of the Trustees (Perpetual Succession) Act Cap 164, with the principal objective of holding the property in trust.