Environment Cabinet Secretary (CS) Keriako Tobiko has stood his ground that there will be no compensation for holders of title deeds at Maasai Mau even as MPs hint at plans to seek Attorney-General’s guidance.
Mr Tobiko caused a storm in Parliament Tuesday when he declared that 716 title deeds were of no legal consequence “and cannot be used to claim compensation.”
“The mere fact that these documents were signed by government officials does not render them valid. They are null and void,” he told the National Assembly Committee on Environment.
Chairman of the Committee Kareke Mbiuki said“ We will seek clarification from the Attorney-General and the Ministry of Land on the process of title revocation.”
The 716 ownership documents had been issued by past administrations, but which Mr Tobiko stated the holders were duped.
This is despite the CS declaring in August last year that 461 of the 716 title deeds were genuine.
The title deeds were issued after five groups' — Sisiyan, Nkaroni, Enoosokon, Enakishomi and Reyio -ranches extended beyond adjudicated boundaries into the forest.
Documents tabled in Parliament detail how the groups illegally hived off the forest before selling land to unsuspecting individuals.
The aggregate acreage of the five group ranches was around 3,000 hectares (ha) before it ballooned to 17,101ha when it expanded to the neighbouring Maasai Mau forest.
Mr Tobiko said the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) was in possession of files of the encroachers, even as the second phase of evictions that started on September 1 gathers momentum.
During the first phase — from July 6 to 10, between Nkoben River North boundary and Kosia — 1,772 households totalling 8,860 people were evicted.
An estimated 3,000 heads of livestock were removed in an exercise in which crops were spared. Approximately 4,500ha were recovered during the first phase.