NCPB’s Sh5.7bn land in private hands

National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) grain driers. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) risks losing property worth Sh5.7 billion encroached by private individuals and entities, the State auditor has warned.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu said several parcels of land belonging to NCPB across the country have been hived off by private entities, fenced and leased off at the expense of the purpose it was originally intended for.

In an audit report tabled in Parliament, Ms Gathungu said the parastatal risks losing multi-billion shillings of land that has been illegally occupied by third parties.

Ms Gathungu said inspection visits at sampled NCPB depots across the country revealed encroachment by private parties on government property.

The audit report shows that NCPB properties in Bungoma, Kisii, Nakuru, Kericho and Kakamega had been encroached on by third parties.

“In view of these issues, the ownership by the board of the properties could not be confirmed,” said Ms Gathungu in a report on the accounts of NCPB for the year to June 2020.

The audit shows that a private developer had fenced off plot number 485 where the NCPB silos in Bungoma are located and leased it to a garage operator.

Ms Gathungu said an inspection of the Kisii NCPB facilities shows that structures have been irregularly built by third parties on Block 3/48 of the board land measuring 0.0167 hectares and Block 3/150 measuring 0.0302 hectares.

“No records were provided to indicate the effort made by NCPB management to recover these parcels of lands,” said Ms Gathungu in a qualified audit opinion.

She said permanent residential houses had been built and occupied by third parties who claim to own the properties and allotment letters for three of the NCPB properties in Kericho.

Ms Gathungu said the encroached Kericho NCPB properties include block 5/65 (LR No 631/488), Block 5/66 (LR No 631/505) and Block 5/67 (LR No 631/504) measuring 0.03 hectares, 0.0389 hectares and 0.0335 hectares respectively.

She said other encroached properties in Kericho include Block 5/138, Block 2/49 and Block 5/165 measuring 0.0654 hectares, 0.7284 hectares and 0.0654 hectares.

The audit says the properties had their beacons moved inwards from one side and lost tens of metres of government land.

Ms Gathungu said an audit inspection of NCPB properties in Nakuru showed that the board did not have ownership documents for land LR/No 3490/16 measuring 0.0878 hectares and it was not possible to physically identify the said land for audit verification.

In Kakamega, the tenant leasing the NCPB depot land had built permanent structures and also repainted the NCPB office.

Ms Gathungu said no records were provided to the auditors, indicating that the developments on land block 1/640 in Kakamega were approved by the NCPB board of directors.

Ms Gathungu also raised a red flag over the financial situation at the NCPB, saying its liabilities currently stand at Sh19.25 billion.

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