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State sacks 19 Lands ministry officials

BUSINESS
By | Dec 5th 2011 | 2 min read
By | December 5th 2011
BUSINESS

By CYRUS OMBATI

Stung by allegations of grand corruption and irregular demolition of houses, the Government moved to put its house in order, sacking 19 officers linked to land fraud.

The purge at Ardhi House began as officers from the ranks of clerks were sent on interdiction. Monday, the spotlight turns on senior officers in Job Group N, among them assistant commissioners of lands.

Sources said PS Dorothy Angote and Minister James Orengo vowed action must be taken after officers were found guilty of having been involved in double registration of title deeds and issuance of fake search results. In what appears a decisive effort to stem land fraud, all PCs have been directed to compile an inventory of major illegal dealers and land fraudsters in the country. Sources at Ardhi House said hundreds of innocent buyers have fallen prey to land fraudsters, who collude with unscrupulous officers to forge documents or to hide genuine information when approached by the public.

A joint parliamentary committee chaired by Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi continues with it its public inquiry to find out what went wrong in demolition of houses.

"It is the highest number of officers to be interdicted in a ministry over allegations of corruption in recent times," a senior official who requested anonymity said.

Internal Security PS Francis Kimemia told the PCs to provide a list of major land dealings, especially involving unique land buying companies that are characterised by mysterious killings and delayed land completion transaction and settlement. He told the administrators in a memo to submit the details to his office by December 20, including action taken on reports and complaints received from the public.

In his memo, Kimemia also asked the administrators to discuss the matter in their respective provincial security and intelligence committees and advise the National Security Advisory Committee on how issues were being resolved and any other recommendations especially in difficult cases.

Serious insecurity

His directive comes in the wake of condemnation of the Government on how it handled demolitions of structures in the city allegedly located on public land. The exercise was conducted in Syokimau, Eastleigh, Kyang’ombe and Mitumba slums.

Kimemia said that Kenyans have lost huge sums of money in illegal transactions while some have been killed. He added that land fraudsters have invaded public land, subdivided it and sold it to unsuspecting Kenyans. "This matter could occasion serious insecurity if not dealt with as appropriate. In some instances, people have killed each other. This should urgently be investigated and stopped now," reads part of the letter.

On Wednesday, a city businessman allegedly involved in the illegal sale and allocation of the plots was arrested for questioning at the CID headquarters on Kiambu Road.

Mr James Robert Onyango appeared before Kiambu Principal Magistrate Catherine Oluoch, and was charged that on unknown dates and places, with intent to deceive and without lawful authority or excuse, made a fake Irrevocable Sale Agreement purporting to be valid for parcel number LR/1042680 situated in Mavoko Municipality.

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