Economy

Queries over Sh73m pay to spy agency for digital land system

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Parliament buildings in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Parliament has questioned payment of Sh73 million to the National Intelligence Service (NIS) for an electronic land system that President Uhuru Kenyatta launched last month.
  • MPs put Lands Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri to task to explain why the spy agency was tapped to develop the Land Information Management System (LIMS).

Parliament has questioned payment of Sh73 million to the National Intelligence Service (NIS) for an electronic land system that President Uhuru Kenyatta launched last month.

MPs put Lands Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri to task to explain why the spy agency was tapped to develop the Land Information Management System (LIMS).

The National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) demanded to know why the ministry received Sh73 million from the Ministry of ICT for the development of LIMS wired the cash to NIS.

The committee heard that the ICT ministry credited the amount to the Lands ministry’s deposit account two days to the close of the financial year ending June 2019.

The cash was later paid to the NIS on August 2, 2019 for digitisation of land registries. The MPs questioned why the money was not credited directly to NIS accounts by the State department of ICT.

A report of the Auditor-General flagged the expenditure despite the Lands ministry spending Sh700 million to digitise 14 land registries in 2017/18 prior to engaging the spy agency.

The report says it was not clear why NIS was engaged to undertake a similar exercise that had already been paid for and whether the ministry obtained value for the Sh700,004,000 spent in the project.

The online platform is a one-stop-shop linking property owners to buyers and investors. It is expected to restore sanity in the land sector which is riddled with cases of fraud.

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale sought to know whether the new electronic land management system is foolproof.

“Yes we can guarantee the security of land documents now but we are checking what paperwork supports the ownership,” Dr Muragurisaid assuring property owners whose documents are already listed that “your land is safe.”