Karen land development still on three days after High Court stopped it

NAIROBI COUNTY: Police are yet to evict occupants of the Sh8 billion Karen land, following a High Court directive issued on Monday.

Instead, The Standard has learnt that the police have launched their own investigations into the ownership of the disputed prime land.

It is not clear what prompted the police to commence the probe at a time when the High Court has issued orders stopping any development on the land.

The 134.4-acre land is at the centre of an ownership controversy pitting businessman Horatius Da Gama Rose and former NSSF Managing Trustee Jos Konzolo.

Wednesday, it emerged that the Deputy Chief Lands Registrar Geoffrey Birundu was the first to be interrogated by the officers after he was summoned to CID headquarters.

Mr Birundu on Tuesday evening appeared at the CID offices, only a day after he had sworn an affidavit at the High Court, saying Mr Konzolo's Telesource.Com is the legitimate proprietor of the land having obtained it from John Kamau on October 21, 2005.

"I am aware that according to our records Telesoruce.Com is the registered proprietor of land reference LR 3586/3 IR 3187 having emanated from the original title registered in the name of John Mugo Kamau," the affidavit reads.

The ministry's response deepened the mystery of the real owner of the prime land, as it contradicts a statement by the National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri who insisted the land belongs to Da Gama Rose.

"Yes, I was called to the CID headquarters and I gave them all the information that I have concerning the plot," Birundu confirmed to The Standard.

And by Wednesday when we visited the site, police were yet to evict the developers, three days after Justice Lucy Gacheru ordered Langata OCPD to remove them.

Instead, more lorries were ferrying sand while the number of youths who were protecting the property had tripled. Not even journalists were allowed to take pictures.

A man said to be a brother of a serving governor was issuing instructions that the media should not be let in. A senior police officer said they had already been served and were in the process of verifying the orders before taking any action.

On Tuesday, Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu invited the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate and identify the real owner of the land. In a letter to EACC Chairman Mumo Matemu, Ms Ngilu said her attention had been drawn to media reports on the disputed land, which is subject to an ongoing case.

"The reports from the media and the law firm cast a very dark shadow on the working of the ministry and land transactions at large. There are allegations of impropriety and unlawful activities. Following these reports and with a view of establishing the true ownership of this land, I invite your team to undertake a thorough investigation," it read.