NLC probes titles of water catchment areas in Coast

NLC Vice Chairman Abigail Mukolwe. (Photo: Gideon Maundu/Standard)

The National Land Commission (NLC) has started plans to revoke title deeds of lands in water catchment areas in Coast region.

The commission has set up a tribunal to listen to the public and those claiming ownership of the more than 117 title deeds of the Shella-Kipungani water catchment area.

This follows claims that most of the land may have been acquired illegally.

Speaking to the media in Lamu, NLC Vice Chairman Abigail Mukolwe said investigations had revealed that most of the title deeds may not be genuine.

"There are glaring inconsistencies in most of the title deeds and lease holds that the commission has reviewed. What is coming out from the proceedings is that some of the title deeds appear forged," Ms Mukolwe said.

The commission is reviewing grants and disposition claims over the Shella-Kipungani protected area, which is Lamu Island's only fresh water catchment area.

The review was brought about by a complaint raised by the Water Resource Management Authority that some individuals may have encroached on the protected area and put at risk thousands who depend on the fresh water that comes from the aquifer.

"It is coming out clearly that there are anomalies as to how most of the land owners acquired their title deeds," she said.

Some of the anomalies have to do with title deeds with wrong fonts and no signature of approval from the Land Registrar. Some land owners presented certificates of titles without the actual title deed.

Some titles are not in the Lands Registry. "Despite the commission having given a 14-day grace period to those with questionable titles to present documentation to prove their case, they have not done so. NLC is most likely going to revoke the titles even before the deadline set," she said, adding that the urgency for revocation is to protect the water catchment.