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Ngilu, Swazuri in new war over signing of leases

By Cyrus Ombati and Geoffrey Mosoku | Aug 8th 2014 | 2 min read

Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu has yet again kicked up a storm at the ministry after she gazetted forms that will enable acting Chief Lands Registrar Jane Ndiba sign land leases.

This is contrary to another gazette notice issued by National Land Commission (NLC), mandating the chairman and CEO to sign leases and titles on a transitional basis. Ngilu gazetted regulations prescribing the lease forms on July 28 in a special gazette notice dated August 1, which has irked the commission.

NLC, which is mandated by the Constitution to manage public land on behalf of the National Government, was yesterday preparing to move to court to challenge Ngilu’s moves. NLC published a notice asking the public to ignore Ngilu, saying her action violates the law and undermines spirit of the Constitution, which empowers the Commission to manage public land on behalf of National and County Governments.

NLC insists it has powers to administer terms and conditions of leases created from allocation of public land, a power previously exercised by the Commissioner of Lands which has been confirmed by various judicial decisions.

“The lease published by the Cabinet Secretary is illegal and not provided for in Law and may expose land owners to serious legal challenges and will certainly foster confusion in the land sector,” a notice signed by NLC Chairman Muhammad Swazuri reads.

“This lease, which forms the contract between the plot owner and NLC and which contains the conditions for managing the ownership and the use of the land is what is then presented to the Chief Land Registrar to issue a Certificate of Lease (commonly referred to as Title Deed) as provided for under Section 30 (1) of the Land Registration Act,” it continues.

Although, under the Land Registration Act 2012, the CS is mandated to gazette these regulations, it can only happen after the same has been submitted to Parliament for approval and in the event the country has a Chief Lands Registrar appointed through a competitive process by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

The PSC is set to fill the position six months after the commission advertised the vacancy.

Ngilu said she was making the moves while exercising powers conferred to her by sections 108 and 110 of the Land Registration Act, 2012 to gazette the Land Registration forms.

On Tuesday, the Commission on Implementation Constitution accused NLC of contributing to the confusion over clashing mandates between the commission and the ministry.

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