MPs task Ngilu on ownership of 134-acre Karen land

Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu has failed to furnish the National Assembly Committee on Lands and Urban Development with information on the ownership of the 134-acres of land in Karen currently under dispute saying there was little or no information on the matter.

Ngilu was insistent that the matter of ownership of the controversial land would be determined by the courts which together with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (CID) are investigating the matter.

“We don’t have all the information and we are looking for information. The ministry through the Attorney General has entered its defence now and that is why we are getting more information,” Ngilu said.

Members of the committee led by Rangwe MP George Oner put the CS to task to explain how a government institution mandated to deal with all the land issues could not trace documentation expected to be in its possession.

“Where we have not heard of a break-in or a fire taking place… coming to a committee of Parliament and saying she does not have details between 1957 to 1983 and 1983 to 1997, this is unacceptable,” said Oner.

Ngilu blamed the misplacement and missing documentation on lack of organisation in the registries but the members would hear none of this with Naivasha Member of Parliament John Kihagi launching an onslaught.

“From 1919-1957 when we did not have computer applications, the records were very clear, the records became hazy when we began to advance…the issue is not digitising, the issue is integrity among our people currently. The issue is withholding of this information,” blurted Kihagi.

The lands CS could not explain the contradicting facts of the available documents as in one scenario, the same piece of land was sold to the owner.

Telesource owned by former NSSF Managing Trustee Jos Konzolo was reportedly sold the parcel of land by one John Mugo Kamau yet in other records, Telesource had purchased the same piece of land from Muchanga Investments Limited owned by the claimant of the 134-acres of land, Horatius Da Gama Rose.

Da Gama Rose who is admitted to a London hospital is represented in court by lawyer Cecil Miller.

“Telesource.com was registered in 2005, so how could it have owned land in 1983? I have also seen that Muchanga Investments has been paying rates since 1983, can this information be availed to us,” Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo said.

Ngilu further claimed that Muchanga had attempted to subdivide the land on two occasions unsuccessfully adding that the ministry’s registrars had as early as 1997 had reservations on Muchanga’s claim to the property.

This contradicts the position of the National Land Commission which appeared before the committee last week, where it insisted that according to the records it has, the land is owned by Da Gama Rose.

What was rather glaring was the fact that although the Ministry of Lands was adamant that it did not have the documents, its counterpart, the National Land Commission had some but accused the ministry of withholding others.

Owing to missing documentation, the legislators are now warning of a looming financial crisis in the country if the issue on issuance of title deeds is not sanitised.

“Being told that our land registry cannot actually tell us the ownership of this land actually spells doom not only for the land sector the entire economy upon all this loans and mortgages have been given,” Kihagi added.

Ngilu further claimed that Muchanga and Telesource were not the only parties interested in the land, that there were more claimants who benefited from the land after subdivision including Wananchi Supplies ltd, Highway Commodities ltd, Ezy Enterprises ltd among others.

The CS also denied knowledge of the claims that 40 MPS are beneficiaries from the subdivision further asking those with information to submit it.

The Lands CS now has until Tuesday next week to furnish the committee with the documents supporting the registration, ownership, transfer and subdivision of the controversial Karen land estimated to cost over Sh8 billion.

This article was published by CAPITAL FM NEWS on November 4, 2014