, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 30 – Lands Commissioner Zablon Mabea has now admitted a high level conspiracy in the controversial Syokimau land allocations involving officials at the Ministry of Lands.
Mabea told the joint parliamentary committee chaired by Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi that the ministry had launched a probe eight days ago on the allocations. He also admitted that the ministry received Sh3.1 million from the transactions.
He however maintained that the Title Deeds held by Uungani Settlement Self Help Group were not genuine as the land in contention belongs to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) since 1971 with the title issued in 1996.
Mabea said: “From the way the file was opened all through there was high level conspiracy that’s why we have launched investigations so that we can unearth all those involved in this scandal.”
“The title they have (LR13512) is not in our records and is actually fake therefore does not confer any legitimate right to them. In addition we did find the group called Uungani Settlement bearing a fake letter of allotment and with multiple defects,” he added.
“The title actually is overlapping to the title (LR21919) which belongs to the KAA which is valid in our records,” he insisted.
The Ministry of Lands received payments from the Uungani Settlement Self Help Group but we have since established that the payments were to facilitate a fraud.
According to Mabea, the self-help group paid at least Sh3.1 million on diverse dates in November and December in 2002.
The commissioner revealed that efforts to get who authorised the opening of a file for the allotted land had borne no fruit as the perpetrators behind the scandal stole the file.
He clarified that an allotment letter does not confer ownership of the land to the holder adding the letter Uungani Settlement group had was not drafted by a qualified professional.
Mabea said that the power to authorise payments for land allotments has since been made a preserve of the Commissioner for Land and his deputy and that the ministry was initiating better information management systems to enhance safeguarding of paper records.
Chief Land Registrar Cyrus Ngatia who initiates legal notices at the Ministry of Lands affirmed the title in the possession of Uungani Settlement Self Help Group did not go through the normal procedure for all legal notices.
Ngatia told the committee that the applicants went missing once an officer at the ministry noticed that the documents the applicants were using were suspect.
The applicants then found their way through the offices of the Commissioner of Lands, the Attorney General and to the government printer who printed the notice.
Ngatia said: “It is surprising that a legal notice was printed while the office of the registrar of lands stopped the process pending the receipt of valid documents.”
The director of physical planning also appeared before the MPs committee where he testified that the Physical Development Plan was corresponding to land in Athi River, several kilometres away from Syokimau.
Lands Minister James Orengo is expected to appear before the joint committee on Friday to shed more light on the issues relating to lands under probe.