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EACC probing gov’t land grabbing in Laikipia

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating the grabbing of 60 parcels of government land in Laikipia County.

EACC regional boss in charge of central region Abraham Kemboi said that the investigations were in the final stages as they seek to revert back the grabbed parcels to the government.

Speaking in Nanyuki on Thursday during a county multi-agency consultative meeting on land, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources, Mr. Kemboi added that EACC would start issuing restrictions to the occupiers of the grabbed government land.

“We will restrict those parcels and then issue notices to show cause why their titles should not be canceled and reverted back to the government, thereafter we file the cases at the Environment and Land Court in Nanyuki,” Kemboi said.

Among the parcels said to have already been grabbed include a section of the County Commissioner’s residence, governor’s office compound, prisons staff quarters, County Police Commander residence, Administration Police line staff quarters, Public works department compound, Nanyuki law courts, and the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) compound.

Kemboi further said that people should stop imagining that one can take government land and walk away as if nothing happened.

“Those who imagine that they own titles of the County Commissioner’s residence and the governor’s office compound, let them be informed that they own no land there and the easiest thing for them to do is to surrender those titles,” Kemboi warned.

The EACC official said that the commission was willing to negotiate with those occupying government land under the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism but only if they were willing to surrender the parcels.

Laikipia County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri who was also present at the forum noted that many government officers working in the area were living in fear following threats of eviction by the grabbers who claim the parcels of land.

“Our officers have received several threats of eviction from their places of work by the grabbers, but have told them to stay put and not to move since government land was demarcated many decades ago some even during colonial times and the documents are available,” Kanyiri said.

Laikipia governor Joshua Irungu who also attended the forum decried land grabbing in the area noting that most of the parcels set aside for social amenities had found their way into the hands of individuals.

“We are finding it very difficult when we intend to initiate a development project such as a dispensary or a dam only to get stuck after the realisation that the land set aside for that purpose has been allocated to an individual,” Irungu said.

The governor noted that most of the grabbed parcels of land had been sold to unsuspecting third parties but vowed that all of them must revert back to the government.

“We are informing our people that public land belongs to the government and should not be under the hands of an individual,” Irungu said.

By Martin Munyi

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