KMC has no title deeds for 16 prime properties
Posted Thursday, July 26 2012 at 21:53
State-owned Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) has no title deeds for 16 prime properties it owns in key towns despite clearing its debts with the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) six years ago.
Top in the list of KMC properties without titles is the Athi River-based factory which resumed operations in 2006 after the government cleared its debts and invested more than Sh600 million in the firm.
A House committee hearing was on Thursday told that the title deeds’ files could not be found at the Ministry of Lands or the Treasury, which is the custodian of all government assets.
KMC managing commissioner Ibrahim Issak said the commission has outstanding bills amounting to Sh160 million, being legal fees for KMC title deeds.
He said loss of the files has seen KMC lose huge chunks of its land to grabbers and through illegal transfers executed at the Ministry of Lands.
The commission said that it has no titles for the land it owns in Athi River in Mavoko Municipality where it is headquartered, Nanyuki, Simanzi and Kibarani in Mombasa, Nakuru, Landhies Road and Kitsuru in Nairobi, among others.
The commission said it could not access its Sh300 million Shimanzi cooling plant in Mombasa where 170 employees have been earning salaries without working following the take-over of the facility by a private firm.
The firm, which trades as Safeways, bought the land at an auction, resulting in a court battle that has enjoined the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
The parliamentary Committee on Agriculture chaired by Naivasha MP John Mututho heard that the 16 titles were charged for a loan to KMC 20 years ago, which the Treasury settled before KMC was lifted out of receivership and reopened in 2006.
“The Treasury wrote off the debts and NBK was to discharge titles and return them to KMC. No discharge has been done and we have no single title charged to the bank that has been released to us,” he said.
Mr Issak told the committee that the commission had been compiling a list of its properties, some of which had been forcefully occupied and developed.
KMC company secretary Irene Mbito revealed that the Treasury, through its investment secretary Esther Koimett issued a communication that Oraro and Company Advocates was undertaking the discharge of titles.
“Koimett wrote to us saying she had issued a letter to Oraro Advocates to discharge the titles. We paid a visit to the law firm and we were informed that they were not aware of any such instructions to discharge the titles,” Ms Mbito said.
“When we did a search, the files were not available at the Ministry of Lands. A lot of our land has been sold or grabbed.”
Deputy managing commissioner and commercial director Patrick Muchemi said another law firm — Mutua and Njenga Advocates — had claimed the Treasury had instructed it to file a suit against NBK to release the documents.