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Africa is showing some signs of progress in creating a stronger regulatory framework to deal with land ownership and disputes citing Cameroon, Kenya, Liberia, Mali and Senegal for breaking new ground. /FILE

Kenya

Surveyors to audit costs for land in infrastructure projects

Speaking during a press briefing, the institution's council chairman Stephen Ambani said they are concerned at reports of collusion between land owners and the procuring entity to inflate the price of land to be acquired whenever the government is undertaking major projects/FILE

Speaking during a press briefing, the institution’s council chairman Stephen Ambani said they are concerned at reports of collusion between land owners and the procuring entity to inflate the price of land to be acquired whenever the government is undertaking major projects/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 5 – The Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) has urged the government to address the delay of national infrastructure projects by compulsory land acquisition processes, to avoid further losses.

ISK said it will carry out an internal inquiry to establish among others whether the land values submitted to guide compensation on the use of public land for roads and railway construction were properly determined as this will guide appropriate action including relevant disciplinary mechanism on members who might have erred.

Speaking during a press briefing, the institution’s council chairman Stephen Ambani said they are concerned at reports of collusion between land owners and the procuring entity to inflate the price of land to be acquired whenever the government is undertaking major projects.

“We are concerned that the practice has interfered with the project implementation process. Sections of the media in the past two weeks highlighted this issue especially the loss of millions of shillings of taxpayers’ money in the process, “he said.

He quoted the Land Act 2012, which requires the National or the County Government to submit a request to the National Land Commission to acquire land on its behalf.

The institution now wants the government to be communicating routes to be followed by infrastructure projects at the beginning to avoid causing confusion when such projects are underway.

He however made it clear that Land Act 2012 section 120(2) and (3) allows the State to access land awaiting compensation and that if this provision is well applied then the State is not held at ransom by private and land owners unlike a scenario where people demand unreasonable claims on public projects without allowing access.

Ambani cited the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway and the Southern Bypass in Lang’ata where the government has spent hundreds of millions of shillings to compensate land owners.

He also added it is in such instances where the courts eventually award exorbitant sums, sometimes way above the valuation figure.

“The National Land Commission should appoint a task force to review all the issues of compulsory acquisitions with a view of establishing challenges and informing compulsory acquisition going forth,” he said.

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He said the government and the commission should finalise amendments to the land laws and gazette regulations that shall give guideline to the process.

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