A parcel of land meant for the construction of the presidential regional office-cum-official residence has been allegedly grabbed.
According to a local publication, the piece of land, set aside by the government for the establishment of the Kisii State Lodge, had a huge chunk of it hived off.
The land grabbers had moved to the extent of raising a perimeter iron sheet fence around the property.
Parcels of land meant for the residence of the county commissioner as well as the county commander were also reported to have been grabbed.
“I cannot comment on a matter that is under investigations,” Kisii County Commissioner Stephen Kihara stated when he was contacted for a comment.
Kisii residents have often criticised the government for condoning outright theft of public land.
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak, in February 2020, stated that the agency was investigating the matter, in light of illegal allocation of land by the County Government of Kisii.
“In exercise of the powers conferred in me under Section 27 of the Anti Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003, the commissioner requires owners and occupiers of the property to submit original documents within seven days of this notice,” Mbarak stated.
He directed that members of the public residing on the pieces of land provide land transfer documents together with consent from the Lands Control Board.
The piece of land meant for the State Lodge is identified as Kisii Municipality block 11/112. The county commissioner’s as Kisii Municipality block 11/137, and the police commander Kisii Municipality block 11/168.
The publication reported that a forensics team from EACC was probing top government officials over the land fraud. It is alleged that a number of powerful people are involved in the grabbing.
EACC has interrogated area Lands Registrar Steve Mokaya who stated that the people inhabiting the presidential residence land had done so illegally.
“The land was grabbed by people who are well known in Kisii. The grabbers are busy developing the stolen property without fear of being sanctioned by authorities. I have made it very clear to law enforcers that the occupiers of these parcels are trespassing on government land,” Mokaya stated.
“If these people are able to grab land on which the country’s top security chiefs reside and nothing happens to them, what will stop them from evicting everyone from their homes and forcefully occupying or selling them with impunity,” he added.
Mokaya stated that he had provided evidence, but nothing had been done yet.
In February 2020, EACC published in local dailies that it was conducting investigations into the land fraud surrounding the planned Kisii State Lodge.