Residents of Gilgil Sub-County have petitioned Nakuru County government to repossess 15 plots at Kongasis Trading Centre meant for public utilities that have allegedly been illegally acquired.
The alleged stolen land includes a primary school, a slaughter house, a market and an Early Childhood Education Centre.
The Eburru- Mbaruk Member of County Assembly, Samuel Kariuki termed the allotments as illegal and advised residents who knowingly occupied public land to surrender it within a month.
“This not only threatens the ecosystem but locals and grabbers have not spared wetlands and forests in this region,” he said.
“The matter is being handled by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations after an audit was conducted and identified the culprits who have illegally taken over the land,” said Kariuki.
Kariuki who teamed up with former Civic leader, Peter Ole Nduguya in calming down irate residents at the trading center said some of the public utility plots had also been earmarked for Jua kali sheds, a dispensary, a mosque, a church and public social hall.
Ole Nduguya called for the disbanding of a development committee that had been appointed to oversee implementation of World Bank funded projects in the area.
“Cartels that have been stealing these plots and selling them to unsuspecting Kenyans have infiltrated the development committee. This has heightened levels of impunity by corrupt and powerful individuals.
“Some of the illegally acquired land had been set aside for World Bank funded infrastructure upgrade projects. The committee cannot be trusted to discharge its mandate transparently and efficiently,” said Ole Nduguya.
The former Civic leader claimed that empty spaces, proposed parking zones and sewer sites were being targeted by powerful land grabbers.
Last week, Nakuru governor Lee Kinyanjui extended an olive branch to those who had been issued with public land to come clean.
“There are people who were either knowingly or unknowingly given public land, and we are calling on them to hand it back and no action shall be taken against them,” he said.
The governor said the county had the support of the National government on the issue of repossessing grabbed public land.
Kariuki said civil servants who facilitated the fraudulent transfer of public property to individuals should be dealt with in accordance with the law.
The MCA affirmed that the culture of impunity by public servants must be brought to an end by holding them to account for their action.
He observed that once the National Land Commission resolves the issues surrounding the grabbed land, the county government should move fast to secure and safeguard them for the residents of the affected areas.
By Anne Mwale/Dennis Rasto