Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney has today acknowledged great steps taken by her ministry in activating searchers for over 100,000 properties in Nairobi and countrywide at large.
Karoney was making her remarks in an open forum on the challenges being faced at the lands registry and how to streamline the land transactions at the Ardhi House.
She revealed that public land in private hands will not be able to transact because the government has locked it through the new digital process going on at the Lands ministry.
“We have been able to follow the due process as instructed by the President to identify public and private hands and it has made it easy in Nairobi to separate public land from private ownership, this means that if your own land inside an airport you will not be able to transact,” Karoney said.
Her sentiments come in the wake of Kenya Kwanza Coalition running mate and Mathira Member of Parliament (MP) Rigathi Gachagua’s court battle over ownership of Sh1.5 billion land near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
In his affidavit, Gachagua argues that John Michael Ohas, a former director of physical planning at the Lands ministry, had filed a claim before the National Lands Commission which in 2016 found that the MP’s company, Wamunyoro Investments Limited, owned the land.
According to Gachagua, John Michael Ohas illegally obtained a title deed in December 2019 and registered it in his company’s name Columbus Two Thousand ltd.
Ohas had initially sued the Mathira MP seeking revocation of his title deed claiming it was fraudulent but he allegedly withdrew the case last month to defeat Gachagua’s plan for a counter-suit.
In the same breath, Karoney has admitted that the search process has been slow due to the rigours involved in cleaning up land data and cautions taken not to transfer weaknesses of the old land records.
“The ministry has fast-tracked the uploading of information on our digital platforms and I can tell you this has been a rigorous process involving data cleaning, coding, and scanning of records but we are glad issues like basic search will be provided digitally,” Karoney said.
The CS also noted that information relating to survey, physical planning, land administration, registration, valuation, adjudication, and settlement is supposed to be obtained and processed digitally.
The Lands ministry was pressured by protests over delays on its digital land registration system.
The protest forced Ardhi house to sign a deal with the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK).
A deal was brokered after a crisis meeting with the lawyers who threatened to stage a demonstration last month over transaction delays on the National Lands Management Information System commonly known as Ardhisasa.
The pact was signed by Karoney, LSK President Erick Theuri, and his ISK counterpart Abraham Samoei.
On his part, Theuri urged the ministry to put more effort into the Rapid Result Initiative (RRI) to be able to clear the backlog verification while at the same time granting that most of the resolutions penned down have been resolved.
“We have received positive feedback from our clients and some of the resolutions penned down have since been resolved, however, we urge the government to emphasize more on the Rapid Result Initiative (RRI) to be able to clear the backlog for verification,” Theuri said.
LSK President Abraham Samoei said they shall continue to engage with the Lands ministry until the digital platform is successful.
“We shall continue to engage with the ministry to ensure the process is a success while at the same time keep our engagements with our members to be able to see areas that need rectification,” Samoei said.