Kakamega officials trade blame for messy land sector

Registrar blames slow processing on understaffing, denies being always absent from office

In Summary

• Residents have decried inability to access land searches since the service went online. 

• County officials accuse their land counterparts of absenteeism and corruption. 

Kakamega Land executive Alfred Matianyi in his office
'FAKE' TITLES: Kakamega Land executive Alfred Matianyi in his office

The Kakamega department of Land is in a shambles as national and county government officials blame each other for the mess. 

This is in spite of incessant public complaints of inability to access searches since the service went online. 

A meeting between officials from the two levels of government on Wednesday turned into a shouting match with each side pointing accusing fingers at the other.

County Lands executive Alfred Matianyi led his team in accusing their national counterparts of absenteeism, corruption and signing documents in bars. They called for their transfer. 

Matianyi said Land registrar Monicah Bor was perpetually absent from the office. He accused her staff of harassing those seeking services by extorting money from them and demanding transport to sites. 

“When the officers are on the ground they are asking for money for fuel and more from clients," the CEC said. 

He continued, "Despite boundary disputes in counties being devolved, the revenue collected from the service goes to the national government, denying the county revenue." 

Matianyi claimed fake titles originated from the Lands department. "Widows are losing land through forgeries on parcels requiring succession and the question is where these titles are coming from."

He further accused district land valuer Edwin Oduor of signing documents in bars and not in office as required.           

A county legal officer said the devolved unit had been slapped with Sh96 million costs after losing cases due to failure by the Lands department to provide requisite documents.

Bor denied that she is truant. She said her office was overwhelmed as the county was expansive. 

“I sign documents, attend court cases and go to the field. When I am in the field it does not mean I’m never in the office,” she said. 

The department had all 14 clerks transferred a year ago. Only two were replaced, Bor said, citing delays in processing searches to understaffing. 

The registrar said her office has operated without a vehicle since devolution started "and that is why my officers ask those seeking services to pay for fuel to the field".

Oduor denied he was a drunkard. 

Edited by R.Wamochie