KPA land worth Sh2.9 billion has been grabbed, committee reveals

KPA staff led by their MD William Ruto (right) prepare documents ahead of a meeting with the Public Investment Committee on May 8, 2024. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Prime parcels of land owned by Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) worth Sh2.9 billion have been grabbed by tycoons or invaded by squatters, a parliamentary committee has revealed.

According to the Public Investment Committee (PIC) oversight team, 17 parcels of land were either idle or lacking title deeds, making it easy for the grabbers to invade them.

The PIC said records in Parliament show that prime parcels of land worth Sh270 billion and allocated to KPA, the agency that runs ports, were at risk of being grabbed.

PIC chairman David Pkosing told KPA top officials in Mombasa on Friday that unless they acted swiftly to secure all properties, the authority risked losing a lot of land.

The committee was in Mombasa to question KPA Managing Director William Ruto on queries raised by the Auditor General in the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 audited accounts.

“Do you realise how at-risk the authority’s land is? Have you placed a caveat to prevent any transaction regarding the said parcels?” Pkosing asked Mr Ruto.

In response, Ruto acknowledged that KPA lands not in use were at risk of being grabbed and KPA had either leased or disposed of them.

“Some cases about the ownership of some parcels are in court. Some parcels were consolidated and new titles were issued. Action to secure new titles for the others is underway,” said Ruto.

He said the authority had filed affidavits for issuance of titles and promised to protect KPA land.

However, Pkosing said the committee was not convinced by the response of KPA, saying they were moving at a snail’s pace to secure government property that could be grabbed.

“There seems to be collaborators within KPA who don’t want it to secure its land. We want to see deliberate efforts to repossess the grabbed land,” said Pkosing.

Pkosing claimed the cartels working in cohorts with some KPA employees have been frustrating the efforts to recover the plots in question without success.

The committee members said despite KPA winning a case against one of the tycoons that had grabbed its land, the authority had not repossessed it.

“It is now three years since KPA won the case after 20 years but you have not made an effort to register the land in the name of KPA as the owner,” said Kaloleni Member of Parliament Paul Katana.

Those who attended the inquiry are Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi Aden Keynana, Sara Korere, Babu Owino, Paul Katana, Charo Tungule, Mariane Keitiany, John Waithaka, Peter Kahungu, and Ronald Karauri.

By Brian Ngugi 24 mins ago
Real Estate
Centum backed SEZ secures Sh6 billion investment
By Lydia Owuor 48 mins ago
Real Estate
Title conversions: How lenders can make their securities much stronger
Real Estate
Wave energy: Untapped power that could light up Kenya's 'forgotten' homes
Real Estate
Firm enters into roofing materials market