PROPERTY BELONGS TO HOUSING MINISTRY

EACC recovers Sh100m public land after alleged grabber attempted to evict Machakos judge

The recovered public land is approximately 80 metres from Machakos State Lodge

In Summary
  • The recovered public land belongs to the Ministry  of Housing and its approximately 80 metres from Machakos State Lodge.
  • Ngumbi said it was estimated that the government land and houses that are in the hands of grabbers in the region are worth around Sh1.2 billion.
Lower Eastern EACC regional manager Japheth Baithalu with the commission's spokesperson Eric Ngumbi addressing the press at the recovered public land in Machakos County on June 12, 2024.
Lower Eastern EACC regional manager Japheth Baithalu with the commission's spokesperson Eric Ngumbi addressing the press at the recovered public land in Machakos County on June 12, 2024.
Image: GEORGE OWITI

Over Sh100 million of public land has been recovered from a suspected grabber by the Ethics and Anti–Corruption Commission in Machakos county.

The one–acre land was repossessed after the suspect unsuccessfully attempted to evict a Machakos judge living in her official residence sitting on the same parcel within Machakos Township.

“This property is over one acre that is valued at over Sh100 million. It had been grabbed from the government but, the EACC has recovered it and returned the same to the public,” EACC spokesperson Eric Ngumbi said.

Ngumbi addressed the press at the said land on the sidelines of an Anti – Corruption workshop for regional and county-based journalists in Machakos County on Wednesday.

He was accompanied by several EACC officials alongside EACC Lower Eastern regional manager Japheth Baithalu and EACC Education officer Nephat Mbau.

“Today EACC is in Machakos town training media practitioners based in Kitui, Makueni and Machakos counties. This is part of a programme by the commission that targets media with a view to enhancing the capacity of the Kenyan media to effectively participate in unearthing corruption and other malpractices relating to the governance of our country,” Ngumbi said.

The recovered public land belongs to the Ministry  of Housing and its approximately 80 metres from Machakos State Lodge.

“The property was, however, leased to various government institutions including the Judiciary where we have the residential premises for judicial officers in this area. Indeed, the grabber who had a title deed for this land attempted to evict a judge."

"That’s when we got information and we moved on and conducted investigations. The commission has been able to successfully recover this property and return the same to the government,” Ngumbi said.

Ngumbi said the recovered property wasn’t the only one that EACC was dealing with.

He said the commission was in Machakos courts pursuing recoveries of various properties that are currently in grabbers’ hands.

Ngumbi said it was estimated that the government land and houses that are in the hands of grabbers in the region are worth around Sh1.2 billion.

“Those are the cases that EACC has taken to court in relation to this region. I’m talking about Machakos and its neighbouring counties,” he said.

The EACC spokesperson said part of the plots and government land they were pursuing in court included 13 plots which belong to Kenya Prisons.

“Somebody has a title deed for the Kenya Prison’s land in this town. We are also pursuing recovery of around 5 hectares of Seme Primary School land in Katani, Athi River subcounty valued at Sh300 million,” Ngumbi said.

He said in Kitui county, there was land belonging to visually impaired persons that had been grabbed by a church worth Sh150 million. EACC is in court pursuing the same.

Ngumbi said cumulatively, cases that were pending in court seeking recovery of grabbed land and return of the same to the public are valued at Sh1.2 billion.

He said besides the recovery of land, the commission was undertaking investigations in matters related to the crime for purposes of prosecution of capable persons.

Ngumbi said they had cases relating to county executives and county assemblies in each of the counties in the Lower Eastern region.

“We have cases relating to Kitui, Makueni and Machakos counties. These cases are at various stages of investigation. Some are pending review by the ODPP, while others are in court,” Ngumbi said.

He said EACC had noted that land grabbing was a major challenge in the country.

“Most government plots particularly those belonging to the Ministry of Housing in towns across the country are in the hands of private persons. These are individuals who grabbed these parcels of land in collusion with corrupt land officials,” Ngumbi said.

Ngumbi said the grabbed public plots cumulatively, could be more than what the government requires for the affordable housing project, the reason why EACC continues to recover them.

He said some of those who had grabbed public land were coming forward to ask the commission for an opportunity to resolve disputes alternatively other than the normal judicial process.

Ngumbi said EACC was allowed by the law to enter into negotiations with ‘thieves’ of public property with a view of assisting them return what they took from the public.

“Any person out there who is in possession of government property be it land or any other property is encouraged to come forth and enter into negotiations under alternative dispute resolution process to voluntarily return what they have instead of waiting for the lengthy and costly litigation in court,” Ngumbi said.

He said the commission had put on notice corrupt land officials who reallocated what had been recovered.

“In particular, the commission continues to receive complaints concerning land registrars across the country who either collude with private persons to allocate land that belongs to the government irregularly,” Ngumbi said.

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