- Some of the houses and land allocated were meant for health facilities, markets and slaughterhouses in a manner.
- The allocations of these parcels of land that are now the subject of an investigation saw unsuspecting Kenyans issued allotment letters to parcels that belonged to the government.
Individuals who grabbed public land and government houses within Kisumu City are in a tight spot after the EACC and the County Government of Kisumu declared a total war targeting them.
According to information provided by the Kisumu city manager Abala Wanga and the EACC, some top officials at the then Kisumu's City Hall placed a newspaper advert in 2010 and 2011 that saw one of the most blatant and irregular alienation and subdivisions of public land in prime locations such as in Kanyakwar, Mamboleo estate and in Kibos area.
Some of the houses and land allocated were meant for health facilities, markets and slaughterhouses in a manner that exposed the level of impunity and graft that was perpetrated individuals charged with the management of public resources in the lake side city.
The allocations of these parcels of land that are now the subject of an investigation saw unsuspecting Kenyans issued allotment letters to parcels that belonged to the government.
Many of these unsuspecting Kenyans, officials say, are now holding on to useless papers after parting with millions of Shillings.
On Tuesday, Kisumu City manager Abala Wanga, in an interview with the Star disclosed that a total of 76 Municipal Council houses, mainly in the leafy Milimani estate and Tom Mboya were grabbed.
He said the grabbers went on to rent the same to government agencies that pay rent to them.
The City manager told the Star during the interview that his office has since forwarded these cases for investigation by the EACC.
EACC's regional manager for Western Kenya Abraham Kemboi confirmed that they have active cases involving grabbing of public land and government houses in Kisumu that are under probe with some already before courts awaiting determination.
In one of the cases, a former public health officer who was employed by the now-defunct Kisumu Municipal Council allegedly grabbed four houses belonging to the defunct local authority.
After illegally acquiring the units that are located in Kisumu's upmarket Milimani estate, this individual rented out one of the government houses to the state bodies, according to the City manager.
"He continues to collect monthly rent from the state bodies to date while the house belongs to the government," Abala said.
Abala noted that among the cases being probed by the EACC include those involving several market spaces that were irregularly hived off by some former councillors and a few top officials at the Municipality including land meant for the Kombedu market.
In Migosi estate, spaces meant for nursery schools and a health center were also grabbed, according to the City manager.
At Tom Mboya, a prominent lady in the town and a renowned Kisumu businessman is said to have grabbed Council Houses.
According to the City manager, the businessman who held four units went to court and obtained eviction orders and successfully evicted Council staff from the houses in Tom Mboya estate.
Near the Kisumu City stadium, a former councillor and a former town clerk viciously fought over the allocation of a four-acre piece of public land which was set aside for showgrounds.
The land was later sold off to a developer who sold it to individuals who put up a church.
"Near Mama Grace Onyango Hall, they grabbed Council houses worth Sh200 million which was later sold to a private company," Abala said.
" The former councillors and a town clerk also interfered with Kisumu Municipality Block 13 where there is a wetland. The land was subdivided by a former councillor who chaired a key committee," he said.
According to the City manager, the councillor then subdivided a portion of the land in collusion with the town clerk.
"They prepared documents, allocated some portions of the wetland to their children and sold a portion to an American investor," he added.
The land in question measures 7 acres according to the City manager.
In the Mamboleo estate, another 7 acres meant for a slaughterhouse was also hived off irregularly and sold to a private developer who has since erected rental units.
Abala further revealed how three prominent politicians who served as cabinet ministers during the KANU regime irregularly acquired 45 hectares of land that belonged to Kisumu Municipal Council in Kibos.
According to the City manager, the Municipal Council had bought 105 hectares of land in the Kibos area for the industrial estate.
Locals who resided on the acquired parcels were duly compensated by the Municipal Council and moved out.
The city manager explained that in the 70s, a portion of the land was meant for the industrial park by the KANU hawks.
" Former ministers hived off 45 hectares, each obtaining 15 hectares. What remained of the industrial park was irregularly allocated to unsuspecting Kenyans by some corrupt chief officers that served before devolution," he added.
On Tuesday, he said Governor Anyang Nyong'o had resolved that his administration would correct the mistakes committed.
"Myself, the Governor and the EACC have vowed to recover all the grabbed public land and government houses in Kisumu. We are telling them to surrender the same immediately," he said.
On Monday, the EACC's regional manager revealed that the commission was hotly pursuing other cases involving the grabbing of public land in the region.
"Kisumu is one of the counties with many cases of grabbing of public land, and the, EACC has moved in to wrestle the public land from the grabbers," Kemboi said.
" Several cases are being processed and the value of recovery cases currently filed at the Kisumu Land and Environmental Court, amount to over Sh 8 billion," he disclosed.
Some of the notable high-value recoveries underway in Kisumu County include:
The 18-acre Kibuye Market is valued at Sh2 billion.
About 20-acre land in Kisumu Milimani meant for the construction of Regional Prisons Staff Quarters and Offices is also being pursued by the Commission.
"Road reserves which have been converted into petrol stations and car selling yards and land reserved for Industrial Park in Mamboleo is set to be recovered," he added.
The commission is also seeking to recover the Nyalenda Kenya Railways land which was fraudulently sold by a Law Firm, which went ahead to pocket the proceeds, without any reference to Kenya Railways Corporation,
EACC is also pursuing another case of Kenya Railways land which had been legally leased to a private hospital in Kisumu but is now being claimed by individuals who have filed a civil suit seeking orders to evict the iconic hospital.
In Siaya County, he said the Commission is investigating the circumstances under which the Yala Swamp, which is a trust land, was handed over to prominent Western Kenya sugar barons, in total disregard of the prevailing legal framework.
Previously, the Commission recovered land meant for Kisumu Law Courts, Kenya Railway Land (Kisumu Port) and Taifa Park.
The commission is asking all persons holding titles to grabbed government property across the country to consider voluntarily surrendering the same to the Commission.
"Instead of waiting for the costly and lengthy court process which may nevertheless see them surrender the property and pay costs of the suit and interest to the Commission," a statement from the commission stated.
Notably, the EACC is empowered under the law to enter into negotiations with graft suspects to facilitate their voluntary surrender of what they have stolen from the public, under the framework of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Addressing the media in Kisumu, Kemboi noted that the Commission appreciates the invaluable support received from the Judiciary in facilitating the recoveries of public lands through progressive jurisprudence