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Kakamega officials face probe for 'selling' public land

Western
 A section of the luxury houses that were demolished by the government at Mulimani estate in Kakamega town on November 28, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Officials from the Ministry of Lands and the defunct Kakamega Municipality are under probe for allegedly selling public land to private developers at the posh Milimani estate.

This is happening as the national government continues with demolition of property in the estate to pave the way for construction of affordable houses.

"We are only repossessing government land," said Irungu Macharia, the Western regional commissioner.

The official believes some private landowners knew they were buying government land while some used their positions in the government to hive off huge chunks of land fraudulently with the help of land registry officials and those from the Kakamega municipality.

"We have widened the scope of our investigations into a syndicate of selling of government land to private individuals by officers from the land registry and those who were in charge of the municipality," said Macharia.

He added: "Some leased out the land without following due process. We want to know what transpired and who is responsible for the mess.”

The regional commissioner told The Standard that most of the title deeds and land documents for current land owners in the Milimani estate differ from the original documents at the Ministry of Lands.

“We have several documents in our possession from the alleged land owners. We have cross-examined them with those at the Ministry of Lands and the National Land Commission. It has turned out that there are big discrepancies,” he said.

Macharia added that some landowners had fake documents.

"Whether they were conned or forged the documents and occupied the land, they have to move out,” said Macharia.

Deputy Governor Ayub Savula has since faulted the regional commissioner for authorising the ongoing demolitions, stating that he will be filing a case in court against the ongoing demolition.

“I have been tasked by our governor to file a case on behalf of the county government of Kakamega for the stoppage of the demolitions," said Mr Savula. 

Earlier, Governor Fernandes Barasa had distanced his administration from the ongoing demolitions, accusing the regional commissioner of doing selective and discriminatory demolitions.

“Why is it that only county buildings and pieces under the defunct municipality are being targeted and not those that belong to the national government? Barasa wondered.

A section of top politicians have already surrendered their title deeds to avoid embarrassment during the eviction and demolitions.

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