Taita Taveta Governor, MPs reject sub-division of land

Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja. [File]

Local leaders have rejected the subdivision and change of user of the vast Voi Sisal Plantations Limited.

According to signed land documents, copies of the said papers are in our possession, the change of user from agricultural to commercial was issued by the Voi Land Control Board on March 13, 2019.

A postal search dated February 13, 2019 conducted by the county’s Lands Registrar Sego Manyarkiy indicated that Voi Sisal transferred parcel No CR 51725 to Voi Point Limited through a transfer dated January 31, 2019. Voi Point then used the land as collateral to take a Sh4.8 billion loan from a bank.

Yesterday, Governor Granton Samboja and MPs Danson Mwashako (Wundanyi), Andrew Mwadime (Mwatate), Jones Mlolwa (Voi) and several MCAs said the county leadership was not involved in the transfer and subdivision of the disputed land.

“It has come to our attention as the people’s representatives of the county that the management of the Voi Plantations Limited has without following due procedure as set out in the framework of land adjudication, gone ahead to purport to transfer the interest in the said land to willing buyers,” they said in a joint statement.

“None of the local leaders, and worryingly, the county department of Lands, the Lands Committee of the county assembly and the larger county government nor the public participated in the process leading up to the change of user into commercial. Importantly, approval from county government was never granted,” they added.

They called for calm as they “pursue all avenues to forestall this illegality”.

“As leaders, we will shortly activate legal proceedings to protect both the interests of the community and the potential buyers by ensuring due process is adhered to,” they said.

In a letter to Lands Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri on the status of the 1,953 hectares, the registrar objected to the transfer and subdivision of the land on grounds that a lease that had been granted earlier had expired.

Mr Manyarkiy added that some individuals reviewed the lease without seeking their approval.

“The county government’s role only applies to approvals for subdivisions and change or extension of lease of user on both leasehold and freeholds land. Section 17 subsection (1) of the general land regulations provides that applications for subdivision, amalgamation, partitioning and re-parcelling shall be submitted to the county government,” he said in the letter seen by The Standard.

Manyarkiy said the land, situated in Voi town, was allocated to Voi Sisal Estates through a grant No C.R 51725 registered at the Mombasa Land Registry for a term of 99 years, effective January 1, 1993.