Issuance of title deeds to Eastlands residents halted to allow for verification of leases

The allocation of title deeds to Nairobi’s Eastlands residents has been halted to allow verification of the beneficiaries, the governor has said.

Governor Mike Sonko yesterday said he had temporarily stopped the process after he learnt that there had been illegal allotment of land in some city estates.

“We will not issue the title deeds until we conduct an audit to identify the genuine landowners and weed out land grabbers from the list of beneficiaries,” said Mr Sonko.

In May last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed City Hall to work with the Lands ministry and issue 100,000 title deeds to residents of Embakasi, Utawala and Dandora, among other estates.

But Sonko, who was speaking with representatives of Mukuru Kwa Njenga, said the process would only continue after investigations had been completed.

But data provided by City Hall show that only 1,023 title deeds were processed between May and March this year, and that none of the land documents have been handed over to their respective owners.

City Hall Urban Planning and Lands Committee revealed that the delay in issuing the titles was due to lack of verification of leases by the Lands ministry. It also came to light that the ministry had been holding on to the titles long after lawyers cleared with them.

“The ministry of Lands went ahead to process title deeds without the due process of verification of leases being done. The end result was processing of numerous erroneous title deeds. Most city residents are now not willing to pay for processing of their titles until they see the results of the process,” said committee chair Anthony Kiragu.

The committee accused the County Lands Department of abdicating its mandate of surveying the schemes under the project, despite having officers to carry out the task. The county was further accused of frustrating the law firms processing the title deeds.

“Lawyers are experiencing frustration and delays in processing of documents from both the county Lands office and the ministry. This indicates lack of dedication or capacity from both the ministry and the department. It also shows that there is no synergy between the two in executing this presidential initiative,” said Mr Kiragu.

Nairobi County Director of Survey Cecilia Wangari said another 27,000 titles would soon be released, adding that the process had been hampered by interference by political leaders.