President Kibaki Tuesday supported recent house demolitions in Syokimau and Eastleigh; in his first public comments on the controversial operation that targeted alleged illegal settlements along flight paths.
Mr Kibaki said “rogue” influential land dealers, including foreigners, were involved in irregular land sales which had cost ordinary Kenyans large sums of money. (READ: Fraud in Syokimau land deals exposed)
The President warned land buyers to be on the look-out for fraudsters, while also urging those who had been conned to reveal names of the swindlers, some of who are powerful public officials. “My government fully respects the sanctity of individual property. We must, however, be a law abiding nation,” said Mr Kibaki.
Plot owners in Syokimau and Eastleigh have demanded compensation for the demolitions, claiming they were holding genuine title deeds.
“The government will work hand in hand with the private sector and individuals to avoid future instances where many people fall prey to conmen,” said Mr Kibaki.
The president added that clear guidelines were required to outline the relationship and responsibilities of the central government and local authorities in regard to land transactions. The Lands ministry said Thursday it had sought help from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to establish the origin of fake title deeds in Syokimau. The permanent secretary in the ministry, Dorothy Angote, said the ministry was seeking the CID’s help to find out how titles on the controversial Syokimau land could have been issued since there is only one official title deed for the land.
“We have written to the (CID) since they have the necessary expertise to find out what could have happened,” Ms Angote told members of three parliamentary committees — Lands and Natural Resources; National Security and Administration; and Transport.
The PS said it was not legally possible for any government official to allocate land that belongs to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), which means all documents on the said land are fake. (READ: Demolitions revealed flaws in sector)
Unsuspecting individuals and members of Uungani Co-operative Society trusted the documents and committed millions of shillings on real estate projects that have since been brought down by government bulldozers. On Tuesday, it emerged that the land in Syokimau was compulsorily bought by the government in 1971 and was then allotted to KAA.
An official title was later issued on July 20, 1996. The jurisdiction of the Syokimau land was also a source of confusion.