, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – The Ministry of Lands has filed an application in court seeking the extension of the deadline for regularisation of guidelines used in the issuance of more than three million title deeds by the Jubilee administration since 2013.
Speaking during a press conference on Friday Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi stated that the application filed under a certificate of urgency is seeking an extension of six months to conclude the process.
Kaimenyi indicated that the Ministry together with the National Lands Commission had played its part in gazetting the regulations and stated that it was now up to Parliament to do its part.
“Going by the progress so far made in coming up with the comprehensive regulations and rules to operationalise the land laws, it is our humble view that this demonstrates good will and compliance with the judgment and orders of the court and that he efforts made should not go to waste in the last minute,” he stated.
While enumerating the adverse effects should the titles deeds be cancelled, the CS urged Kenyans not to be worried and expressed confidence that the extension to complete its work will be granted.
“You can imagine if you own a piece of land somewhere with a title deed and someone wakes up one morning and decides that the document is illegal. How would you feel and you appreciate that fact that sometimes we all have weaknesses, we may do things maybe inadequately and that is not a crime. And if there is an inadequacy somewhere it can be corrected,” he said.
“My Ministry wishes to state that following that upon the High Court ruling on December 19th last year that all title deeds issued without the involvement of the National Land Commission and enactment of requisite regulations by parliament were irregularly processed and therefore illegal, I took it upon myself to initiate the process of implementation of the same by appointing a task force on the formulation of regulations.”
There were fears that all the titles given since 2013 would be rendered illegal by Monday next week for failure to regularize the guidelines.
The High Court on December 19, last year, ruled that all title deeds issued without the involvement of the National Land Commission (NLC) and enactment of requisite regulations by Parliament were irregularly processed and therefore illegal.
Justice Joseph Onguto suspended the adverse order to give the Government a year to fix legal shortcomings.
As the deadline expires next Monday, the Government is yet to effect the legal requirements.
Experts have also warned of a looming upheaval in the real estate and financial sectors and the economy in general, should the decree that the title deeds are illegal come into force.
It was in light of the far-reaching consequences that the order revoking the crucial land ownership documents would have, both politically and economically, that the judge suspended the directive on invalidity 365 days to give the ministry time to regularise the papers.
The Judge ruled that should it not have complied with the order within 12 months, all regulations and forms promulgated shall stand null and void for all intents and purposes on the 366th day.
The deadline is set to expire next week on Monday yet Parliament is yet to discuss the regulations which have not been tabled in the House despite having been forwarded last month.
In June, when President Uhuru Kenyatta issued 7,137 title deeds to Tharaka Nithi residents, the Government reported more than three million land papers had been given by the Jubilee regime in the last four years, nationally.
Judge Onguto had found the Ministry of Lands proceeded to prepare lease documents in violation of the law governing land matters by ignoring NLC’s input.
The judge further ruled the ministry had erred in processing the titles as there were no rules in place to guide the process in accordance with the Land Registration Act.
The CS then moved to appoint a 14-member task force on January 2.
The team drew its membership from the Lands ministry, NLC, Kenya Law Reform Commission, State Law Office, Law Society of Kenya, Institute of Surveyors of Kenya, Kenya Institute of Planners and Nairobi City County Government.