• Lands PS Nicholas Muraguri says cash payments will no longer be accepted in lands offices
• The PS said that the move is aimed at blocking fraudsters who have been draining the ministry's revenue.
Cash payments for services in Lands offices will no longer be accepted after the ministry announced plans to roll out a digital revenue collection system.
Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri said that the move is aimed at blocking fraudsters who have been draining the ministry's revenue.
“We had planned to roll out the system in July but there were some hitches. But I want to assure that soon, we will be cashless,” he said.
The PS spoke when he appeared before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee over the year 2016-17 audit queries that exposed revenue losses in the ministry.
“We want to follow the footsteps of the Judiciary and KWS which have fully digitised their services,” he said.
The report revealed that the ministry missed its revenue target by Sh1.24 billion or 42 per cent during the year under review.
The ministry collected Sh1.71 billion out of a target of Sh2.95 billion from Kenyans who sought services from the offices during the year.
Some Sh685.79 million was collected by the ministry’s officers while Sh830.42 million was collected by the Kenya Revenue Authority from stamp duty.
“The ministry failed to collect revenue by 42 per cent of the budgeted revenue. This may have impacted negatively on the country’s budgeted development projects,” reads the report.
Further, Lands officials were indicted for overstating the revenue collected by the KRA on behalf of the ministry by Sh89.74 million.
The PS explained that the ministry missed the revenue target by a big margin because of the general elections which were conducted during the year.
PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi, Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua, Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo and his Ruaraka counterpart Tom Kajwang, however, wondered how the ministry has been handling such huge amounts of money in cash.
“How do you handle such amounts? How do you even reconcile your books? Convince us that there has been no fraud,” Amolo said.
Residents pay Land offices for searches, stamp duty, surveying, title deeds, land rent among other key services.
Already land records at Ardhi House and regional offices have been digitised in an exercise that was initiated by former Lands CS Charity Ngilu.
(edited by O. Owino)