Over 600 Lands ministry officers in corruption probe transferred

Over 600 Lands ministry officers in corruption probe transferred

More than 600 officers in the Lands Ministry have been transferred to other ministries in the wake of a probe into their role in the theft of public land.

Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung’aro said there will be overhaul of all clerical officers amid investigations to establish if they have been working with crooks to steal public land.

“The ministry is particularly concerned by the many cases of theft of public land reported in Thika, Ruiru and other areas and we are telling those behind these schemes that it is only a matter of time before catch up with them,” he said.

In the Thika Land registry, more than 20 clerks received their letters on Thursday for transfer to other ministries within Kiambu and some to Murang’a County.

CAS Mung’aro said some of those who have been transferred include land adjudication officers and surveyors.

However, the majority are clerks who will be moved to different ministries, which in effect means new clerks will be brought in including at the Ardhi House headquarters.

Mung’aro was speaking in Thika after visiting members of the Kiang’ombe Squatters Settlement Scheme and Masai Village Squatters group who had reported to the Senate land committee the annexure of more than 28 acres of land set aside to resettle them, including public utilities.

He was accompanied by Thika West DCC Douglas Mutai and area Lands Registrar Bernard Leitich.

The CAS also noted that the squatters’ representatives have been called for a meeting at the ministry headquarters in a weeks’ time in a bid to resolve the matter.

“Besides the transfers, any officer found to have been involved in irregular deals will be suspended and legal action taken against them,” Mung’aro said and appealed to members of the public to give any information they have that may help with the probe.

Residents claimed that a cartel has been working in cahoots with some government officers to grab land set aside for public use in Kiang’ombe and Masai villages.

Ibrahim Woche, who is the chairman of the over 2,000 Masai village squatters, alleged that the cartel was using an outlawed gang to demolish their houses claiming they had bought the land which is part of 360 acres belonging to the government.

“We have been living in agony as local government officials including the security and administration turned a deaf ear to our complaints,” Woche said.

Milkah Wangui, the Kiang’ombe squatters chairperson, said the more than 500 families were allocated the land 15 years ago but are yet to be issued with title deeds from the 40×80 plots.

Report Gitau Wanyoike

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