Monday, 24 December 2018

LAND BARONS WREAK HAVOC

CHAIRPERSON of the Commission of Inquiry into the Sale of State Land in and around urban areas Justice Tendai Uchena has said preliminary findings show that scores of people have been duped by unscrupulous barons before barring the sale of State land in cases where the commission has expressed reservations.


Briefing the media recently on progress made so far, Justice Uchena said evidence gathered from public hearings shows that a number of desperate home-seekers were falling prey to land barons who deliberately sell disputed land.

Some people bought stands on the understanding that development would soon be completed, but they ended up staying on unserviced stands for over a decade.

Justice Uchena warned land developers, councils and individuals from selling State land in cases where reservations have been made by the commission. 

“We have noted with concern that the public continues to purchase urban State land stands from cooperatives and developers who fail to follow due process in the selling, allocation, development and servicing of urban State land.

“Cooperatives, developers, local authorities, individual State land sellers and any other State land actors are warned against continued sale of State land in cases where the commission has expressed reservations against the sale of such State land,” said Justice Uchena.

The judge also advised home seekers to first verify with the relevant Government offices before purchasing State land in urban areas.

“We advise members of the public to desist from purchasing stands on State land for urban expansion purposes before verifying with the Ministry of Local Government on whether the purchasers of such land have the authority to sell such land,” he said. 

The Commission of Inquiry’s terms of reference include investigating and identifying State land in and around urban areas that was acquired by the Ministry of Lands and later handed over to the Local Government Ministry for urban development since 2005.

Investigations are being carried out to establish ownership and the methods used in the acquisition of such land.

The commission should ascertain the actors involved in the allocation, occupation and use of such land.

It also conducts visitations where necessary, summon witnesses, record proceedings, and analyse the evidence to arrive at appropriate findings and recommendations to the President.

Justice Uchena encouraged journalists to attend and give coverage to the public hearings to ensure the nation is kept abreast of the progress being made by the commission. Herald

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