How the President was duped to issuing 50,000 ‘fake titles’

President Uhuru Kenyatta hands over title deeds to a beneficiary as Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (second left) looks on at Jacaranda Grounds in Nairobi on May 30, 2018. Over 50,000 title deeds belonging to schools, land buying companies and civil servants housing schemes were issued. PHOTO | NATION

It has now emerged that some officers in the lands ministry, Nairobi City County Government  and National government misled the president  to issue fake title deeds in Eastlands an event that was even televised  live country wide.

Appearing before planning committee  Lands minister Nairobi City county Charles Kerich  could not explain why up to 98% of the  residents who were told by  president Kenyatta  that the titles are ready and free have not received the title deeds as announced and directed.

The committee chairman Antony Kiragu  when questioning City Hall Land director madam Cecilia found  that the few titles  produced  at Jacaranda grounds and given out by the president were prepared in advance and some were indeed fake.

‘‘Madam Cecilia can we confirm that someone somewhere went ahead and produced titles without following due process and that what was issued were fake?’’ Kiragu asked .

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‘‘Yes  Chairman.’’ She answered.

After the Jacaranda event City hall  went on  and contracted lawyers  to help them do the title deeds at a cost not exceeding  ksh 30,000.

Several  lawyers  including  Donald Kipkorir have been questioned by the planning committee on why  they have not delivered to the expectations of the residents despite receiving the amount.

‘‘Our goal now is to ensure Nairobians get their titles within the shortest  possible time and we are going to do a report to ensure that its done,I mean this unfair to the people of Embakasi.’’ Kiragu said.

At Jacaranda president Uhuru Kenyatta and Governor Mike Sonko made it clear that the 50 000 titles were ready and they were to pick them immediately.

BENEFICIARIES

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Mr Kerich, though admitting that the process has taken longer than expected, said that City Hall was to issue only 30,000 titles with the rest being handled by the national government through the Ministry of Lands.

“Out of the 50,000 title deeds, the county was only supposed to do 30,000 with the rest being handled by the national government. Currently, we have another 27,000 ledger records (mainly from Dandora Registry) have been digitized at the Ministry of Lands reading for printing of titles upon preparation and registration of corresponding lease documents,” said Mr Kerich.

He further said that Governor Mike Sonko is set hand out 423 title deeds that have already been processed with another 1,200 having been forwarded to acting County Attorney David Oseko for sealing and signing.

Beneficiaries of the titles, mostly in the Eastern parts of Nairobi included land acquired through site schemes, land buying companies, the National Social Security Fund, Civil Servant Housing Schemes, those in informal settlements and Public Facilities.

“There is a misconception regarding the number of title deeds to be provided by the county government. The 50,000 title deeds to be issued last year were a collective from the county as well as the Ministry of Lands and we did that figure based on a realistic target we saw could be met,” he said.

However, Mr Kerich was put to task by Mr Kiragu why the five law firms engaged by the county government to manage the titling process continued to collect money from residents without any work being done yet City Hall has a legal department.

PUBLIC COMPLAINTS

The Lands executive said that the decision to hire five external legal firms to conduct the process was because City Hall’s legal department is completely depleted and lacking in capacity informing the engaging of the five law firms – Miller and Company Advocates, Okundi and Company Advocates, KTK Advocates, MMC Africa Law and Kamau, Atudo, Macharia Advocates.

“Our legal department is understaffed and that’s why we chose to hire five external law firms because if we chose to do it internally it would probably take us 10 years. The fee of Sh30,000 was also the bare minimum that the firms could charge and we felt it was fair,” said Mr Kerich.

Mr Kiragu said the ward representatives have been receiving complaints from the public that the five law firms have been collecting money from members of the public for eight months yet only623 titles have been issued.

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Mr Kerich, however, defended the law firms saying that the process had experienced problems such as political interference where leaders have been inciting the residents not to pay Sh30,000 conveyance fees to law firms involved in the process.

“Our biggest challenge is that politicians tell their constituents not to pay telling them they should be getting them for free. If someone has told them not to pay yet they are required to pay Sh30, 000 then the process comes to a standstill,” he said, adding that the titles for those who had paid were being processed.

“We admit that we are way off our target but we are even seeking this committee to help us fast track the process since you as members represent the people,” he added.

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