, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 30 – The Criminal Investigations Department has launched an investigation into the illegal sale of the controversial Syokimau parcels of land to unsuspecting Kenyans who were duped to buy government land.
On Wednesday, a city businessman allegedly involved in the illegal sale and allocation of the plots was arrested for questioning at the CID headquarters on Kiambu road.
The businessman whose name we cannot publish until when he appears in court was arrested outside a restaurant on Koinange Street in Nairobi.
“He is being questioned over the Syokimau land sale issue, there are a number of issues we need to clarify from him,” a senior detective at the CID headquarters said.
The police are particularly interested to establish how some businessmen allegedly executed a deal of forging documents to enable them sell public land that belongs to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
Police said they were looking for some other businessmen and government officials in various departments including the Lands Ministry who played part in issuing title deeds to land buyers in Syokimau.
A number of people were forcefully evicted two weeks ago and their houses demolished after they were accused of encroaching on public land.
Some of them have accused the government of failing to protect them, leading to the massive losses they have incurred in the dubious land deal.
Lands Minister James Orengo has disowned the Syokimau Title Deeds held by those affected, causing further confusion to the saga.
The government has indicated it does not intend to compensate any of the people evicted because the land does not belong to them.
A parliamentary committee led by Mutava Musyimi of Gachoka constituency has been investigating the matter since last week and it is expected to prepare a report on how the Syokimau land was acquired and how it ended up being split into small pieces.
Meanwhile, the joint parliamentary committee investigating the recent demolitions heard that the government conducted the evictions in contravention of court orders barring the same.
Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Boss Sholei told the Mutava Musyimi-led hearings that 18 cases are pending in court on property on which demolitions have been effected.
She said the lawyer for the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) should explain why they did not inform their client of the existence of court orders.
“The lawyer for KAA was in court when the injunction was issued and he had the moral obligation of informing his client of the development even when the order was yet to be served,” she added.
She said that the trend of non compliance to court orders by the central government was on the rise and called on Parliament to help curtail the trend.
“Even the Chief Justice acknowledges that the trend is worrying, there is need for collaboration among various arms of government in enforcement of court orders. Sometimes we will need the Executive to intervene or Parliament to crack the whip,” Sholei said.
She said that ongoing reforms in the Judiciary will help ensure that no case is delayed because of the disappearance of files.
“As the leadership of the Judiciary we are committed to ensuring that we shall never hear about missing files, in fact there is nothing like a missing file; someone has just hidden it! These are matters we will deal with administratively,” she emphasised.
At the same committee however, Nairobi provincial Police Boss Anthony Kubichi disputed claims that he, among other security officers tried to hide and avoid being handed the court documents by Mitumba Slum residents who had obtained a court injunction to stop the demolitions.
Kibuchi said: “Whenever a court order is served to an officer of my level or any police officer, it is taken very seriously. But with due respect, a court order was never served to me nor was it served to any police officer.”
He said that no causality was recorded during the demolitions contrary to the reports of casualties that the joint committee has claimed to have received.