, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 – The Commissioner of Lands Zablon Mabea on Thursday termed as ‘fake’ all the allocations in Syokimau area where residential houses were demolished over the past two weeks.
He said the title deeds, letters of allotment, and even the Gazette Notice relating to the land, were all fake as they had no corresponding records in the master registry at the Ministry of Lands located at Ardhi House in Nairobi.
“What we’ve seen are attempts by the group to legitimise fake documents. The titles and the letters of allotment are not in our records,” said Mabea in his evidence before the joint parliamentary committee probing the demolitions.
The committee is investigating circumstances that led to the demolition of residential buildings constructed on plots belonging to the Uungani and Mlolongo Brothers groups.
Mabea drew the wrath of the committees’ chairman Mutava Musyimi and other MPs who claimed that he was feigning ignorance and said that he had knowledge of an existing legal dispute over the ownership of the parcel of land.
The Commissioner of Lands told the committee that the last time he read the Kenya Gazette, in which legal notices dealing with issues of land are published was three months ago.
He told MPs that a gazette notice relating to the land in question in Syokimau, published in the Kenya Gazette on August 26, 2010 aimed at changing part of the Syokimau land from leasehold to freehold, was fake, because, the land belonged to the Kenya Airports Authority.
He tabled a gazette notice dated August 12, 1996 showing that the land measuring 4,674 hectares was allocated to the KAA for a period of 99 years.
The document is signed by former lands boss Wilson Gachanja.
“You cannot tell me that a minister in the Republic of Kenya can issue a legal notice on the basis of fake documents,” said Mutava Musyimi, who is chairing the Joint Parliamentary Committee on demolitions together with Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi.
Musyimi complained that the commissioner was taking them round in a “circumlocutory and labyrinthine” presentation.
Kapondi sought to have the commissioner ejected from the hearings for being a “hostile witness.”
“Every statement you make raises questions and an attempt to get you to answers these questions leaves us in the dark,” Musyimi said.
MPs felt the commissioner ought to take responsibility for being negligent, given that despite the knowledge that there were fake documents in circulation, he did not alert the public.
Mabea defended his office saying that KAA knew that it owned the land; it was upon it to ensure that the land was fenced off and secured.
“The lands office did alert the KAA that those documents were fake, and from that point, it was expected that the KAA should have secured land. Indeed, having been armed with the necessary title they ought to have taken the necessary action,” he told the committee.