EACC Recovers Grabbed Public Land In Nyahururu

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has recovered and reverted to the government a 2.5-acre piece of land valued at Sh.110 million that some 12 private individuals had grabbed in Nyahururu Sub-County, Laikipia County.

According to the EACC, the land had been reserved for the Nyahururu bus park and had been irregularly, illegally and unlawfully alienated to favour private individuals. The parcel of land that had been earmarked for the construction of a multi-million Mall has now been reverted to the Laikipia County Government which is the rightful owner.

EACC Spokesperson Eric Ngumbi revealed that the land parcels, cumulatively measuring 2.5 acres with a current market value of approximately Sh110 million, were illegally allocated to private individuals who had commenced commercial developments including the construction of a mega shopping mall when EACC moved in.

Addressing the press from the site of the recovered property in Nyahururu, Ngumbi said that the Commission, through its Central Regi
onal Office in Nyeri, launched investigations upon receipt of a complaint from Mitumba traders in Nyahururu Town on 21st February, 2022.

The complainants had reported that the land reserved for extension of Nyahururu Bus Park, which the traders were using, had been irregularly, wrongfully, illegally and unlawfully allocated to private developers who had commenced construction of commercial building and were evicting the traders.

Speaking at the same event Nyahururu Mitumba Traders led by their Chairman Peter Maina Mwangi thanked the EACC for saving them from eviction by the grabbers and urged the Commission to assist in recovery of all the other plots grabbed in the area. They called upon the County Government to develop the land recovered by EACC for use by the traders.

‘Were it not for determination and the zeal to pursue the matter in court and with the relevant agencies, the land could have been grabbed and developed, and thus denying the mitumba traders a place to conduct their businesses,’ said Maina

The commission ascertained that there was unlawful alienation of the land to favour private individuals and reported the matter to Nyahururu Environment and Lands Court in an attempt to recover the grabbed land.

Investigations had shown that the land in question had been donated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Nyeri for the construction of Ngare Naro Primary School in 1972.

However, in 1984 the now defunct Nyandarua County Council working with the then commissioner of lands hived off 2 acres of the land for the expansion of the Nyahururu bus park with a disclaimer to the school that if the land was not used in the expansion of the bus park it would be reverted back to the school.

Through underhand dealings, the Nyandarua County Council working with the then commissioner of lands subdivided the land into 12 portions and letters of allotment issued to private individuals.

According to EACC, under the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) negotiations, the defendants who were the allottees agreed to volunta
rily surrender the title documents to the commission.

Six grabbers had already begun developing the parcel of land in a joint venture to construct a shopping mall and were at the foundation stage by the time the EACC struck.

Following the finalization of the ADR Process in November 2023, the Court delivered a consent Judgement and issued declarations and orders revoking all the titles held by the 12 individuals.

The Court further issued a permanent injunction restraining all the defendants, their agents, servants or any other person acting on their behalf from any dealings with the land parcels except by way of surrender back to the Government.

The Commission is currently in the process of transferring the land back to Laikipia County Government.

‘The Commission has since written to the Land Registrar to rectify the land Register by cancelling all entries relating to the defendants and issue new titles in the name of Laikipia County Government, as ordered by the Court.

‘The Commission has 10 other recov
ery suits before the Nyahururu Environment and Land Court seeking recovery of Government land and houses in Nyahururu,’ said Ngumbi.

Among them is the land worth Sh.200 million hosting the Agricultural Mechanization Services (AMS) established in 1946 to support potato farmers through subsidized hire of plant and tractor services.

Three private developers have grabbed the land and obtained titles even with the machinery on site.

Source: Kenya News Agency