Top ministry officials link in Trans Nzoia land tussle

Top ministry officials link in Trans Nzoia land tussle

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Cartels operating in Trans Nzoia county as land buying societies in cahoots with security agencies have been caught in investigations where land cases have taken long in Kitale courts.

Weekly Citizen can now authoritatively reveal the illegalities that have gone on for 12 years, with one top lands registrar in Ardhi House, a resident and a close relative of the Meso Multipurpose Land Buying Company chairman Francis Wafula liaising with some lawyers to defraud genuine land owners of their right to land ownership.

The damning report of Meso Multipurpose Society having paid the Agricultural Finance Corporation Sh5 million for the 600 acres piece of land in addition to another Sh1.7 million for the said parcel LRNo 7060/2 lays bare the inconsistencies in law and explains how some land officers are involved in malpractices

Records held in the land registry reveals that, LR NO 7060/2 was subdivided into namely LR NO 7060/4 which is registered in the name of Luore Nyoiro Company and measures 250 acres and the remaining LR NO 7060/3 was still charged and measures 350 acres although it is still registered in the name of AFC

In an interview with the Weekly Citizen in Kitale, the Kenya lands association chairman Peter Omuse urged the Lands cabinet secretary Farida Karoney to assist members of Meso Multi Purpose Society get back their money from AFC as a way of settling the longstanding dispute with Luore Nyoiro Company Ltd, the company that was issued with a land title LR NO7060/4 lease period of 999 years in 1990.

According to records from Lands ministry, the transfer followed due process of law. All required entries and minutes are properly recorded.

That illegalities have been committed in the ongoing legal wars is undeniable as the central registry in Nairobi continues to be thrown in unending crisis as the cartels full of vengeance bring delivery of justice to a halt.

“Who is protecting these cartels? Where do they get the confidence with which they make illegal occupation of private lands?’’ asked Omuse.

Omuse cited Trans Nzoia county as a place where all evils are being done and asked the Lands CS to urgently address the current stalemate where squatters settle on private lands with impunity.

Trans Nzoia county commissioner Sam Ojwang says the government is zeroing in on cartels that have for long been fleecing people on the pretext of giving them land, noting that the government will not relent in its war to fight corruption.

“This is outright fraud which is punishable by law. I give orders for rounding up of all persons using unorthodox means to fleece people with the pretext of offering them land in this county,’’ said Ojwang.

Ojwang said investigations on local politicians colluding with security officers to lease some parcels of land in dispute were ongoing and warned that anyone derailing dispensation of justice will be apprehended

Impeccable sources within the Kiminini NG-CDF have revealed that some members of a land buying society were advanced Sh1.4 million to extend a school boundary.

This, according to our informer is one way of facilitating Messo in their land grabbing process.

The chairman of Meso Francis Nyongesa Wafula who is related to Wafula of Lands ministry, denied the allegations of receiving the Sh1.4 million from the Kiminini NG-CDF accounts but was quick to admit that AFC owes them over Sh9 million and has no problem being settled elsewhere.

According to AFC, land parcel no 7060/4 measuring 250 acres should not be under any dispute.

They acknowledge having entered into a contract with Messo Multipurpose on LRNo 7060/3 measuring 350 acres.

“Yes, we paid Sh300,000 and thereafter continued depositing direct payments into the vendors loan account with AFC to the extent that by the time the land LRNO 7060/3 was auctioned and acquired by the corporation on October 9 1997, a total of Sh2,777,330 had been paid in respect of LRNo 7060/3,’’ said Wafula.

Contacted, a worker for Luore Nyairo Ltd Raphael Ololo, however asked for justice to be done to all, saying destruction of property should not be encouraged even as both parties look for a long lasting solution.

“In 2015 on different dates, a store valued at Sh500,000, trees at the edge of the farm, tractors, sheep, cows and the fenceall valued at Sh7 million were destroyed and in 2018, a house with six doors, toilet and a water well all valued at Sh600,000 was destroyed,’’ said Ololo.

Contacted for comment, Philp Okundi who is the chairman of Luore Nyairo Company asked the government to ensure justice and fairness as his property which he legally acquired continued to be plundered.

Questioned further, Okundi referred our reporter to the lands office, saying he could not comment further, arguing the matter is being handled in the court.

Kiboroa squatters association chairman Ainea Masinde in his statement urged National Lands Commission to immediately stop the illegalities that are being committed in the ongoing irregular renewal of leases and extensions of expiring ones by un gazette officers at Ardhi House.

“The change of law in February 2019, pursuant to which the cabinet secretary became the authorised person to issue leases, we the Kiboroa squarters alliance are asking Lands CS Farida Karoney to seek delegation of powers to land registrars and identify the persons authorised to handle such matters,’’ said Masinde.

Masinde painted a chaotic picture of impunity running amok in the land offices.

“Loss and misplacement of records, correspondences during and after scanning in the registry are on the rise. Cases of missing green cards in county registries are rampant. It takes months to reconstruct and trace, and there are no designated offices to deal with missing green cards,” Masinde added.

There are several cases of squatters in Trans Nzoia county invading private lands and when evicted, they turn to politicians to rescue them. The security machinery in Trans Nzoia and other government agencies must device a method of controlling the squatters impunity witnessed in the recent passed, a local said.