BY JECKONIA OTIENO
An Italian investor in Kilifi has accused senior Ministry of Lands officials of colluding with fraudsters to deny him his legally owned land.
Pietro Cannabio says he cannot develop the seven-and-a-half-acre piece of land, which has been subdivided and sold by fraudsters allegedly with help from lands officials.
The parcel, Plot LR No 17835 has different CR numbers, which the ministry has realised but has done nothing about.
While the original title reads CR No 35336, another one allegedly appeared as CR 37185 that has been subdivided into seven plots.
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“I have been to every lands office where I thought I could get help. I have gone to the courts where I have got an order to have the parcel reinstated but officials in the ministry’s offices in Mombasa have blocked every attempt because they seemingly have a stake in the plot,” laments Cannabio.
Despite all this, Cannobio still pays rent for the parcel of land even as the fraudsters continue to develop it.
He accuses the senior lands registrar in Coast, Renson Igonga, of blatantly refusing to reinstate the parcel of land to him.
Mr Igonga, however, says the Ministry of Lands has no authority to effect such a task despite getting a letter from the Chief Lands Registrar Cyrus Ngatia asking him to effect the restitution.
“The said titles can only be expunged by court. It is true the ministry has found out that the said titles were fake but it is only a court of law which has the power to revoke the fake titles,” said Igonga.
But lawyers fault this approach saying that it is a breach of right to own property. Lucas Kang’oli, an advocate of the High Court, says the Commissioner of Lands has the power to revoke titles.
Our attempts to locate the file CR No 35336 at Mombasa registry were futile, as it could not be traced to which Cannobio alleges it has been locked up without reason yet it should be accessible.
This is a claim Igonga does not refute, but says files that have issues like litigation are placed under lock and key until the litigation is over and adjudication complete.
A letter addressed to the Senior Registrar of titles in Mombasa from Cannobio’s advocate states that the Government Printer had been caused to publish a gazette notice that the title for subdivision No 17835 had been lost. This in effect meant that the said subdivisions were legal.