Trouble is brewing over planned Sh500million compensation of disputed piece of land in Mombasa compulsorily acquired by government after the National Land Commission (NLC) and the National Treasury were petitioned by the owner to halt the payment.
The land at the center of ownership dispute has been acquired by the government for construction of the Standard Gauge Railway plot number 755/VI/755 bearing Title No. CR4151.
Ndegwa Katisya Sitonik and Associates acting on behalf of administrators of the Estate of James Kamau Thiongo said the intended payment in favour of African Gas and Oil Company Limited must be stopped since the latter is not the legitimate land owner.
“Your office is fully aware of the dispute on ownership in respect of a portion of a property known as MN/VI/755 which the Ministry is about to pay Kshs.519,913,997.00 to the fourth Respondent herein as purported compensation for compulsory acquisition on the same portion of land.
Let us have a confirmation in writing within the next 24 hours that your office will not release the compensation in respect of the subject land to the fourth Respondents before the dispute is resolved.” Sitonik said in a letter dated January 31, 2017.
However, NLC Chairman Mohammud Swazuri’s office is being blamed for authorising the payment in favour of African Gas and Oil Limited despite the ongoing land row and confirmation from the ministry that the land belongs to Kamau Thiongo family.
The protracted land row began in 2012 when Kamau Thiongo wrote to the Ministry of Land complaining of encroachment on his which the ministry confirmed through letter Ref: 12/3/XXIX/49 dated January 10, 2013.
“Our findings are as below: 1) there is encroachment to your plot by plot no.MN/VI/4737, however, there extent of encroachment is not yet established. 2) Plot No.755/VI/MN exists in our Land Registry and registered in the name of Kamau Thiongo.” The correspondence from the ministry reads in part.
According to records at the Ministry of lands, plot number 755/VI/755 bearing Title No. CR4151 is registered under the name of Kamau Thiongo but is said to have been encroached by plot no.MN/VI/4737 registered under African Gas and Oil Company Limited.
Further, according to a search certificate in our possession dated June 2016 of plot number 755/VI/755 bearing Title No. CR4151 is registered in the name of Kamau Thiongo.
Sleuths from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) have initiated investigations into allegations of massive land fraud and possible economic crime over the pending compensation process. “Article 226(5) of the Constitution and Section 202 of the Public Finance Management Act places personal liability on any Public Officer who occasions any loss of public funds through negligence.
Consequently, our clients will hold every Officer who approves, signs or in any other way participates in the release of the funds.” The letter by Sitonik adds in part.
Already, the process of compulsory acquisition is complete and irreversible because the government took over the land and constructed massive permanent railways.