Anti-corruption agency returns Sh1.2b grabbed marine reserve to Mijikenda elders and KWS

A section of the 32-acre Chale Island land that had been grabbed in Kwale County, on Monday, October 9, 2023. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The anti-corruption agency has returned 31 acres of marine reserve worth Sh1.2 billion to the Kenya Wildlife Service and Mijikenda Kaya elders.

Chale Island served as Kaya shrine before it was illegally allocated to individuals.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak said they are on a mission to recover all grabbed marine reserves. 

“As EACC, we shall ensure all the grabbed land is returned. We allowed the grabbers to use the alternative dispute resolution, but they have gone to court and we are sure we shall win,” said Mbarak at Chale Island on Monday, October 9.

He said the commission was also keen on recovering 32,000 acres of land in Chenze Ranch in Kinango, Kwale County.

“Some say there are no people at Chenze Ranch yet there are Digos and Durumas who are the indigenous inhabitants. We shall be repossessing that land.  We have already recovered the land in Kisite-Mpunguti,” he said in reference to the land in Shimoni, Kwale, worth more than Sh300 million.

The commission went to court in 2020 and won the case against land grabbers who had divided Chale, which is a heritage site.

The EACC boss asked investors in such heritage sites to respect the traditions of the locals. “There is no certificate to prove one is a certified Kaya elder. So let us sit together with the investors to resolve disputes amicably,” he said.

Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani said they are seeking recovery of public lands with fake title deeds issued to various investors.

“We also have fake titles in Chenze land, Kisite, Mpunguti, Kuranze and Diani beach plot 28 among others. The National Lands Commission renewed titles at Tiwi Gombato, Taru and Nyari estates. We are thankful the Chale land is back to the Kaya community,” said Achani.