Pressure piles for audit of online land system

Ardhi House in Nairobi

Ardhi House in Nairobi on March 30, 2015. Surveyors are concerned about the inability of Ardhisasa to process parcels registered in repealed statutes. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Professionals in the land sector have stepped up a push for an audit of the government’s national land information management system, Ardhisasa, amid persistent complaints about transaction hitches.

In separate memoranda to the Lands Cabinet Secretary Zachary Mwangi Njeru, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) complained that gaps in the system have affected land transactions.

The concerns revolve around the user-friendliness of Ardhisasa, challenges in the conversion of titles, and regularisation of long-term leases, in the sectional properties.

“Where conversion of a parcel has been gazetted and statutory 90 days’ notice has elapsed, transactions of the parcels are still not allowed until the title is replaced. Conversion does not render a parcel illegal. Transactions on parcels which are considered transactable should proceed and surrender be done at the tail end of the process,” the ISK says in a memorandum dated January 20.

Among issues surveyors raised with the CS include the inability of Ardhisasa to process parcels registered in repealed statutes, a situation where some parcels that have been converted cannot be transacted, and Ardhisasa’s inability to carry multiple transactions concurrently.

Survey jobs

ISK President Abraham Samoei also complained that since the rollout of Ardhisasa in April 2021, many survey jobs were locked out of the system, blocking many transactions and leading to a loss of revenues for many people.

“Allow finalisation of pending jobs. Allow a grace period of six months for completion of pending processing of survey jobs in the usual process,” Mr Samoei appeals in the memorandum.

The institution also notes that the system does not support some key services, including cancellation of surveys, replacement of lost deed plans and sealed registry index maps, and control survey processing.

“Most of the surveys in Nairobi and Kenya at large have been carried out in the Cassini projection system, while ArdhiSasa is being implemented using the UTM projection, which is not ground controlled. This is causing distortions in the transformation, which at times, translates to a deviation of 1m for every 1km,” ISK says.

In a separate memorandum, LSK also complains that Ardhisasa and the conversion process continue to face challenges.

“The Ardhisasa platform is not yet fully functional and is affected by several gaps in law as well as transitional and implementation inefficiencies which have resulted in poor service delivery,” LSK says.

The society cites challenges in the implementation of the system, including a slow pace of verification and completeness of data, leaving the ministry updating data even as transactions happen.

“The verification and completeness of the data in the system continue to be updated even as transactions take place, and this has continued to cause significant delays in service delivery,” LSK said.

The society also warns that the ministry may have bypassed legal requirements in some processes, including a requirement that the system should have a manual backup.