Risk for land owners as court rules on extension of implementing regulations

Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi

The National Land Commission (NLC) has warned of a looming crisis involving thousands of title deeds.

In a letter to Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, one commissioner warns that a pending court case might invalidate millions of title deeds.

The letter dated January 18 and signed by Abdulkadir Khalif said billions of shillings might be paid out for illegally acquired land along the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor and the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Similarly affected by the illegalities will be land belonging to public schools and forests.

Another potential crisis hangs over Parklands and Westlands in Nairobi, where land with expired leases has been seized by well-connected individuals.

In the letter also copied to NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri and other commissioners, Mr Khalif wants the CS to correct all title deed errors found by the courts.

In December 2016, High Court judge Joseph Onguto declared that more than three million title deeds issued since 2013 were irregularly processed and therefore illegal.

The ruling was suspended for 366 days following a court order. The time expired on December 19 last year.

Should the court rule against Kaimenyi on January 31, Khalif wants an out-of-court settlement to enable the ministry to map out implementation strategies.

“Remember that you didn’t appeal against the judgement by Justice Onguto but merely asked for more time to implement the order,” read the letter.

But Kaimenyi said the NLC position was not necessarily correct.

“He is entitled to his opinion, which is not necessarily correct. Our recent press statement addressed directly or indirectly the issues raised in his letter,” he said.

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