What you need to know:
- The executive said the firm was warned against buying land from residents, but went ahead to pay the peasants without involving the county government.
- Mr Mulatya said the law requires all unregistered community land to be held in trust by the county government.
Kitui County Government has threatened to revoke the prospecting licences of a company for flouting guidelines for engaging with the local community.
Environment, Energy and Minerals Executive George Mulatya Wednesday told Athi River Mining that it will not be allowed to buy limestone-rich land directly from residents.
The firm paid each landowner Sh100,000 as deposit, pending conclusion of a land adjudication commissioned by the same company.
Mr Mulatya said it was wrong for the company to negotiate land prices directly with residents of Ngaaie Village in Kyuso District without involving the county government.
“Investors are welcome but they must follow the law and county regulations. Our position remains that investors will only be allowed to lease land,” he said while launching guidelines for electing liaison committee members approved by the county assembly.
The executive said the firm was warned against buying land from residents, but went ahead to pay the peasants without involving the county government.
He said the county government would not allow investors to buy land from locals because they may hold it forever for speculation purposes.
“We’ve received complaints from Ngaaie villagers that data by the firms’ surveyor is not accurate,” he said.
Mr Mulatya said the law requires all unregistered community land to be held in trust by the county government.
He said land acquired in a similar manner in Mathima by the same company in 2004 remained unutilised due to long-standing cases.
“We don’t want a repeat of such mistakes,” said the executive.
The ARM manager in charge of Ngaaie project, Mr Tom Mbathi confirmed that they had paid landowners “little cash” as commitment to that it would invest in the area.