Economy

State gets 30 more days to regularise land title deeds

kaimenyi

Lands Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU| NMG

Summary

  • The deadline lapsed yesterday, prompting Justice Chacha Mwita to extend the compliance period by a month to January 19 following a request from the ministry.
  • Land secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, through state counsel Charles Mutinda, said the government had taken action to rectify the anomaly.

The Ministry of Land has been given 30 more days to regularise more than three million title deeds.

The High Court on December 19 last year gave the State 12 months to comply with the 2010 Constitution, which requires the National Land Commission (NLC)  to be involved in the issuing of all land ownership documents.

The deadline lapsed yesterday, prompting Justice Chacha Mwita to extend the compliance period by a month to January 19 following a request from the ministry.

Land secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, through state counsel Charles Mutinda, said the government had taken action to rectify the anomaly.

He said the ministry was only awaiting Parliament’s approval for regulations to guide the process of involving the NLC.

READ: Owners of idle land to lose titles in new leasing rules

In a judgment late last year, High Court Judge Joseph Onguto found that the government had erred by excluding the NLC from land lease and title issuance.

He ruled that all leases, grants and title deeds issued since 2013 were legally null and void, having failed to involve the NLC, the public and or Parliament.

“Considering the immediate consequences, the declaration of invalidity is suspended to enable the Cabinet secretary initiate meaningful engagement with the public, seek and take into account the advice of the NLC,” ruled Justice Onguto.

The judge, however, noted that declaring titles issued since 2013 or those in the process of issuance null and void would affect land buyers, causing widespread disruption in the economy.

Commercial banks and the owners of the three million land titles issued since 2013 would have been left holding onto worthless papers had Justice Onguto declared all of them null and void.

Mr Mutinda said that the process of Parliamentary approval is outside the control of the Land secretary and that Parliament is about to go on recess, adding that rest of the court orders had been complied with.

“The CS has upon advise of the  National Land Commission and stakeholder consultations complied with judgement of the court and promulgated and published in the Kenya gazette the relevant regulations incorporating the land  regulations forms” he told the judge.

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