The government through the Ministry of Environment has announced plans to take back sections of Ngong Forest from land grabbers and encroachers.
Over 800 homes are set to be demolished in the exercise.
As it turns out, high-ranking politicians, top Lands ministry officials and prominent business personalities are some of the beneficiaries who could lose land that the government now says was illegally hived off Ngong Forest.
The forest is virtually gone, having been grabbed systematically over the last nine decades. Data from the Kenya Forest Service shows that out of the 7,231.6 acres proclaimed at gazettement in 1932, only 1330.39 acres of woodland is left today.
Former politician-turned business personalities including former Kiambaa MP Stanley Munga Githunguri, former Konoin MP Samuel Koech and current Bahati MP Onesmus Kimani Ngunjiri are some of the politicians mentioned in a list released by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry on Friday as having benefitted from the irregular allocations of the undegazetted forest land.
Mr Koech was most probably the biggest individual beneficiary, with an allocation of 132 acres in 1998. Most of this land has since been sold off to other buyers over the years.
Mr Ngunjiri is said to hold 18.24 acres of the forest land and Mr Githunguri 9.24 acres allocated in 1978.
A former board member of the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Maj Gen Njoroge is also a holder of the purported titles of land appropriated from the forest’s land.
Others named on the list are Emos Muyaa, Jane Nduku, Peter M, M.K Melil, James Mureithi, M.G.L. Aluoch, P. Kamuithi, L. Yatich, Zipporah Wangithi, D.M. Marindamy, S. Bundotich, Dr.Baksh, J.Sigei, J.N Mauki and D.M Kimoro.
Other allottees are hidden under shadowy company names, including some whose names have only been revealed due to ongoing legal battles over the sale of the questionably acquired land.
These include Ankhan Holdings – a company associated with Jonathan Moi, Sammy Boit Kogo and Hubert Nyambu Mwakibwa, which received 1,000 acres in 1992. The ownership of Ankhan Holdings was only revealed through court proceedings and documents used to give the firm ownership of the land. The land, which was later sold to the National Social Security Fund, has been at the centre of a court battle after the Kenya Forest Service made advances to repossess it.
Most of the land, according to an official from the Kenya forest Service, has since changed hands by being sold to unsuspecting members of the public, including civil servants and military officers in an intricate web of land sales that includes local and foreign buyers.
The Kenya Pipeline Company, which allegedly purchased land there from Deputy President William Ruto and former President Daniel Arap Moi’s personal assistant Joshua Kulei, is still pursuing justice for the investment that now hangs in the air.
So does an acquisition by Actis NBPL Housing of Mauritius, which bought 11.3acres of land adjacent to the Jockey Club sold to it by Nairobi Business Park-the club’s business arm, out of some 31.6 acres of land had only been leased to the Jockey Club by KFS.
A former lands commissioner, Sammy Mwaita, was accused alongside Ruto and Kulei of defrauding KPC of Sh272 million through sale of undegazetted forest near Bomas of Kenya.
Jockey Club/Nairobi Business Park are still pursuing takeover of the 409 Acres of land adjacent to the club from the forest, according to sources at the KFS.
All this even as KFS said forgery had been committed to excise a large portion of the forest on the North-eastern edge now inhabited by unsuspecting homeowners and business proprietors.
Head of surveyors and mapping at KFS, Evans Kegode, yesterday showed the Sunday Nation documents suggesting that the purported legal notice signed by John Kipkorir Sambu, a former Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources in the 90s, degazetting some 820 acres of the forest was done a year before the minister got into office.
“The minister could not have signed excision notices on June 13, 1996, one year before he took office at the environment ministry,” said Mr Kegode.
Mr Kegode said his office had unearthed mounds of illegalities committed in the 1990s by proprietors of some two titles as referenced by IR no.70244 and IR no.81938 to alter the forest boundaries in collusion with officials at Ardhi House for their own individual gain.
Following the illegal excisions, some 1112.99acres of the forest were left out, leaving a mere 1,330.39 acres to the forest.
At gazettement, in 1932, the forest measured 7,231.6 acres, at independence in 1964 it had shrunk by nearly half to 3,722.5 acres due to further excisions, and then by 1978 it had contracted even more to 3,283.27 acres.
Now the government has said it plans to revoke all documents issued after the 1978 legal notice.
The other such shadowy companies include Tairo Investment, Evenannon Ltd, Kenmor Holding Ltd, Menchewa Enterprises, Chubb Development Ltd, Mumo Agencies, Sekande Investments Ltd, Nehiru Investments Ltd, Kisomok Traders, Seneca Holdings Ltd, Leltaet Flowers, Panda services, Panda agencies, Geomann Ltd, Siele Securities, Arladyks Investment Ltd, PralscotCo.Ltd, Agri Properties, Evenannon Ltd, Kenamor Holdings Ltd, Menchewa Enterprises, Chubb Development Ltd.
Mumo Agencies, Sekande Investments Ltd, Nehiru Investments Ltd, Sielei Securities, Siele Properties, Seneca Holdings Ltd, Testai Ltd, Scanner Agencies, Geomman Limited, Ngong Road Motel &Super Market Ngong Road Hospital, Pralscot Company Ltd, Wilkinsta K. Orasado, Muge Enterprises Ltd, Mitrac Enterprise Ltd, Anshaken Holdings Ltd, Lassy Entersprises Ltd, Greysoil Investments Ltd, Tresoma Developers, Genesei Outlets Ltd, Shilarie Holdings Ltd, Bellrives Ltd, Redate Investment Ltd, Sweetlwinds Holdings, Africo Holdings Ltd, Kooto(Kenya), Tanabell Enterprises Ltd, Siruti Investments Limited, Kogna Limited, Roseco Investments Limited, Rhoneb Enterprises Limited, Rhoneb Enterprises Limited, Goze Holdings Limited, Kihuro Holdings Limited, Lukuyani Enterprises Limited, Desuka Properties Limited, Roseco Investments Limited, Thinga Developers Limited, Chamwa Enterprises Limited, Rhoneb Enterprises Limited, Linto Ltd, Jane Nduku, Linto Ltd, Makori Investment Ltd, Mathakua Developers, Advest Communications Ltd, Jose Enterprises, Selpho Investments Ltd, Kipkenda Investments, Kima Nico Farm, Honey sweets Confectionaries, Kabasiso Ltd, WilkinstaK.Orasado, Kerio Farms Ltd, Vurimi Holdings Ltd, Cemimic Enterprise, Ken Tools Ltd, M/S Simmi Tech, G.I.S Land Surveying, M/S T Investment Ltd, Berne Enterprise, Katikem Enterprises, Sasil General Suppliers, Kehamoz Holdings Ltd, Naki Investments Ltd, Timetdev Ltd, ShukraniEnt Ltd, Ves. Investments Ltd, A.I.C Dev.Trust, Inland Agencies Ltd, N.K Brothers, Ariola Investments Ltd, Vita Inv Services Ltd, SumburuDev Ltd, Deep SolithDev, Frab Investments Ltd, Simmi Technics, Manjen Ltd, Jolly Venture Ltd, Yourkalale Invest. Ltd, Tanam Enterprises, Delta Enterprises, Sunvalley Developers, Mbimbra Enterprises, Juma investment, Basila Enterprises, Sepro Ltd.
Kona Njoro Firm, Kebasico Ltd, Inno Pacific Developers Ltd, Silk Invest Ltd, Mallan Ltd and Nest Trustees Ltd.
Churches with land inside the forest including Nairobi Chapel, Mugumoini PCEA church and St Francis ACK Church have not been spared in the purge either.
According to the ministry, illegal allocations were done by the commissioner of lands. The allocations were also recommended for revocation by the Ndung’u Report.
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko, during an aerial tour of the Ngong Road forest last week said state agencies had also been used as conduits to receive land that was also sold off to individuals.
Mr Tobiko said extra land allocated to some government agencies like the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) for the Nairobi ASK Showground, Kenya Police Service- Mounted Police, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Prison Industrial Centre, Ngong Forest Primary School, and has not been developed for use by these entities shall be equally be repossessed as most of it has been grabbed by individuals.
“Only parcels that have been proven through our investigations to have been allocated for public use will be allowed to remain standing,” said Tobiko.
Via Daily Nation (for public records)