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Land buyers may be forced to declare source of money

By Wilfred Ayaga | May 4th 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Nyeri Women Representative Priscilla Nyokabi briefs the media at the Anglican Church of Kenya Hall, in Nyeri, Dec. 5, 2015. She wants MPs to approve the new amendment to the Land Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015, currently at the National Assembly committee stage. (PHOTO: MOSE SAMMY/ STANDARD)

A proposed change to the country's land laws could block corrupt individuals from hiding their dirty money in land investments.

Nyeri Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi wants MPs to approve the new amendment to the Land Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015, currently at the National Assembly committee stage.

Under her proposal, a person declaring interest in land must declare his source of money and file the declaration with the Land registrar. The registrar will only process the land transfer if satisfied that the legal requirement has been complied with.

"Any person who intends to purchase or acquire any interest in land shall, file with the registrar, a declaration under oath of the sources of the funds used to purchase the property in the prescribed form," reads the amendment that could give rise to heated debate in the House.

"The registrar shall not register an instrument to transfer or create an interest in land, unless the requirements of sub-section (15) have been complied with," Ms Nyokabi proposes in her amendment contained in the House order paper.

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The move, if supported by MPs, means that corruption proceeds will not find their way into land transactions. It will also radically alter Section 36 of the Land Registration Act, which deals with land dispositions in the country.

But it could also add another hurdle to speedy land transactions. 

The Land Bill, which was tabled last year by House Majority Leader Aden Duale, seeks to rectify inconsistencies in the country's land laws, and cure conflicts in the implementation of the Land Registration Act, the National Land commission Act and the Land Act. It has clauses touching on historical land injustices.

Constitutional timelines

A number of MPs, among them Nyokabi had proposed changes to the bill.

Others are Lands Committee Chairman Alex Mwiru (Tharaka), Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir (Mvita), Kamoti Mwamkale (Rabai), Andre Mwadime (Mwatate) and William Kisang (Marakwet West).

The bill is one of those with constitutional timelines. Yesterday, Nyokabi declined to speak on her amendment. "I do not wish to preempt debate on the amendment. Let MPs debate it first before I speak," she said. 

property ownership land ownership National Land Commission (NLC) Priscilla Nyokabi
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