NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 3 – A report tabled by the National Land Commission (NLC) before the Supreme Court on Tuesday details the frustration the commission has faced in the execution of its duties.
The report which Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu disowned in court on Tuesday, details how the commissioners and secretariat staff are restricted from conducting business at Ardhi House and denied access to land documents crucial to executing their functions.
The report speaks of “communication to officers stopping the forwarding of survey maps to NLC,” for instance and “difficulty experienced by NLC in accessing registries and records office.”
The report which was compiled by a joint ministry and NLC technical committee to smooth things out between the two institutions also speaks of numerous, “misunderstandings,” and “stalemates,” in the transfer of functions previously held by the Ministry but transferred to the commission with the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010.
Misunderstandings and stalemates in the processing of grants by the NLC, administration of leaseholds, registration of land as well as in the area of physical planning and development control.
Other functions that are yet to be fully devolved to the NLC two years after its formation, the report details, are the land tax function, the collection of ground rent and stand premium and the settlements function.
“Although the Constitution and the laws assign the land tax function to the NLC, the ministry is still performing its function,” it states.
All of which, the report acknowledges, would be difficult for the Commission to execute until and unless the Ministry relinquishes the necessary assets and staff.
“Statutory requirements of transfer of property, assets, liabilities etc to NLC has not been done,” the report explains.
It also calls to attention the, “recalling of deployed staff performing functions transferred to NLC.”
And the existing NLC staff, it states, face, “difficulty,” in accessing Ardhi House, “in a reasonable, timely and courteous manner,” in addition to lacking designated parking spaces.
The report is the product of a joint technical committee formed in response to the October 30, 2014 Supreme Court directive that the Ministry and NLC engage in a dialogue to address the above concerns after the NLC raised them before the Supreme Court in April 2014.
This was after Ngilu told the National Assembly Committee on lands in September of 2013 that: “NLC must accept that they are not the ones to make land decisions… I know they are a constitutional commission but if they don’t want to go my way, I tell them to move aside.”