The fight for the restoration of the vital water tower, Maasai Mau Forest has started bearing fruit following the surrender of 5,000 acres occupied by prominent personalities.
This emerged as it was revealed that individuals who bought 600 acres of land meant for the Prisons Department in Uasin Gishu County have lost their millions.
Narok County Commissioner George Natembea told the Sunday Standard that he had received 40 title deeds on the controversial mau Forest land for cancellation. “The title deeds were voluntarily surrendered by some prominent personalities in the last few weeks,” said Natembea.
This leaves more than 20,000 hectares of illegally acquired forestland in the hands of private developers, with some of them having sold their portions to unsuspecting individuals.
Some of those who surrendered the titles have not used the land due to invasion of squatters. For those who were paid for the land, Natembeya says they cannot table their transfer documents before the Lands board for fear of being arrested.
Some of the buyers have also surrendered the purported sale agreements along with copies of the mother titles given to them by the sellers. “Some group was charged Sh10,000 per acre and they bought 90 acres of land illegally acquired,” he said.
In Uasin Gishu, National Land Commission (NLC) revoked titles for 600 acres of land and reverted 100 per cent ownership to prisons. “We repossessed the Eldoret land and part of the prison’s land that had been grabbed in Kiambu County,” said NLC Vice Chairperson Abigael Mukolwe.
Prisons Commandant Isaiah Osugo sa id part of the 600 acres is now being used to plant maize for feeding prisoners. Some of those who had title deeds and had put up structures worth millions of shillings sued the government and the cases are still pending.
In a July 26, 2017 gazette notice, NLC revoked titles for 118 pieces of land earmarked for the prison’s farm that had been illegally allocated to prominent personalities including former senior prisons officers.
Former Prisons Commissioner Abraham Kamakil, a Reverend Bett and former Mogotio MP Wiliam Morogo had their allotment letters cancelled. Title deeds for Saccos such as Kipyego, Kapsowar and Koibomoi Teachers were also affected.
In Malindi, the High Court recently cancelled a title deed for a Sh35 million piece of public land grabbed by a private developer.