Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya has ordered county land officials to proceed on mandatory leave to pave way for thorough investigations into fraud related cases that have defined the department for years.
In a move that caught many by surprise on Monday, Governor Natembeya personally walked to the department’s offices at Ardhi House in Kitale town before he quashed County Lands Registrar’s attempts to restrain implementation of his orders, which he had issued earlier on.
The Governor had on Friday evening instructed immediate closure of the land offices for a period of 14 days to allow relevant authorities conduct investigations.
The County boss had meanwhile directed all workers at the affected offices to proceed on leave starting yesterday (Monday).
“One of the recommendations by the Land Task Force was investigations into the conduct and behaviour of staff at the land’s office. Thus, the reason this office should be temporarily closed to allow time for detectives to rummage around before bringing to book officers culpable of any fraudulent activities,” emphasised Natembeya while addressing the Press outside the building.
The Governor’s move came in the wake of a shocking incident last Friday in which a man who operates photocopy services in Kitale town was caught while in possession of sensitive documents, including land transfer agreements, Green Cards and title deeds.
Addressing the media, Natembeya insisted that his administration would not allow public servants both at national and county levels to scuttle efforts to restore order at the local lands office.
“Cartels that collaborate with land officials to commit injustices against innocent landowners will not be tolerated by us. Whether we are national or county officers, our common aim is to serve Kenyans,” he said.
According to area County Commissioner Mathias Rioba, the arrested individual was assisting sleuths at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations with investigations into the matter.
By Maurice Aluda