Ministry of Lands – Soon to be corrupt free?
A motion introduced by Emuhaya MP Wilbur Ottichilo and passed by fellow MPS on Wednesday to have the government establish a web-based system to contain information on all land parcels and their status across the country, will at least if implemented spare Kenyans from falling prey to fraudsters who end up selling them public land.
The system will provide a forum whereby logging onto a website, Kenyans will be able to see if a certain parcel of land is in private or public possession. It will also show which land is registered, under whom it is registered and whether it can be sold to private developers or not.
MINISTRY OF LANDS CORRUPTION
Unscrupulous officers in the Ministry of Lands in collaboration with outside cartels have sold of government land to unsuspecting members of public, only for the latter to loose ownership after a few years after being accused of encroaching in public land. The aftermath has been court battles, forceful evictions and demolitions by the government, leading to massive losses by the investors, the most recent cases being the Syokimau, Mitumba slums and Eastleigh demolitions.
Syokimau residents for example were duped to buy government land and the residents watched in disbelief three weeks ago, as bulldozers flattened their homes. A parliamentary committee led by Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi, 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 and sold to the public.
In an effort to clean up corruption in its corridors, the government has sent packing 12 senior officials in the Ministry of Lands. According to the Commissioner of Lands Zablon Mabea, the title deeds and letters of allotment relating to the irregular allocations in the Syokimau area were all fake since they had no corresponding records in the master registry at the lands ministry.
The Ministry of Lands is in charge of provision of up-to-date land information, documentation and protection of public utility land among other duties, but cases of getting two different people with the same title deed to a parcel of land are by no means unknown.
ENDING FRAUD AND CORRUPTION
If the web-based spatial data infrastructure system is put in place, it will hopefully reduce the cases of fraud and corruption in the Ministry of Lands that has for a long time seen the issuance of illegal title deeds, as information on land will be in the public domain and more accessible.