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Officials, tycoons collude to stop retake of Sh2 billion rail land

COAST
By Vincent Achuka | Jan 6th 2019 | 3 min read

A clique of State officials could be colluding with land barons to delay repossession of two prime ocean front parcels of land belonging to Kenya Railways at the Shimanzi port in Mombasa County.

The two parcels of land worth Sh2 billion exchanged hands through a lease document forged using a false order from former President Kibaki three weeks to the March 4, 2013 General Election.

Investigations by Kenya Railways and National Lands Commission (NLC) done on the order of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) have already established that the land belongs to Kenya Railways.

One of the parcels measuring 4.8 acres under the control of M Tech Building Works has already been developed while the other, measuring 1.5 acres has been sold for Sh58 million to Gold Hazel Limited.

The Shimanzi area is preferred for off-loading of fuel products and handles 10 per cent of Kenya’s oil imports. It can take in a 30,000 tonne ship and products can be evacuated by rail and road.

Kenya Railways has been trying to repossess the parcels of land since last year without success. The DPP has been trying to get status of the two plots MSA/XIV/367 and MSA/XIV/374 from the National Lands Commission (NLC) since April last year but the Ministry of Infrastructure is yet to furnish NLC with the information needed to push the investigation forward.

Additionally, the Assets Recovery Agency is dragging its feet in issuing a restriction on the disputed pieces of land despite being asked to do so by the NLC and the Director of Surveys after the DPP ordered an investigation.

“As a matter of physical fact, there are a number of abandoned Kenya Railways wagons for carriage of goods on site in one of the two plots,” says an intelligence report on the matter seen by the Sunday Standard.

“No further action has been taken by the Assets Recovery Agency to date in order to preserve the plots as construction is still ongoing to date despite the glaring and undisputed evidence that the three plots were grabbed from Kenya Railways and thereafter illegally allocated and the government leasehold titles issued to the persons and or private entities,” says the report.

Meanwhile construction of grain silos by a miller in Mombasa is underway on one parcel as the Assets Recovery Agency looks the other way. A third parcel MSA/XIV/368 has been listed in the investigation report as having also been illegally acquired by M Tech Building Works and used as collateral for a loan by one of Kenya’s largest banks.

“From our investigations it is evident that the parcels referred to above belong to Kenya Railways Corporation and there is no proof of the said properties having been surrendered to the government of Kenya,” NLC vice chair Abigael Mbagaya wrote to the DPP on November 13 after being asked to provide a status on the repossession of the two parcels.

In a well-orchestrated scheme that took place over three years ago from 2011, individuals created an impression that Kenya Railways had surrendered its land in Shimanzi to the Government as a condition for the issuance of leases

They then forged a certificate of lease which was used to obtain forged titles before selling the property. The fake lease certificate was signed by a forged signature belonging to advocate Sammy Ruwa on March 15, 2011. The grabbers also created the impression that the order to lease the land had been given by President Kibaki.

“The President of the Republic of Kenya on behalf of the Government of Kenya in consideration of the sum of Sh810, 000 hereby leases to M Tech Building Works, a limited liability company hereinafter called the lessee,” reads the forged lease certificate.

In the certificate being investigated, M-Tech’s directors are listed as Hussein Hamisi and Salim Amin. Gold Hazel’s directors are Mohamed Islam and Ali Islam Ali.

Mombasa County officials are also being investigated on how and why they gave approvals for construction on land whose records have disappeared from Ardhi House.

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