Three private developers have surrendered to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) three islands in Kwale County worth Sh305 million.
According to the commission, the islands, which belong to the Kenya Wildlife Service, have been recovered through its alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism. The mechanism facilitates people in possession of public property to enter into negotiations with EACC for voluntary surrender to avoid lengthy and costly court processes.
The anti-graft body said that the risk of the properties being used for criminal activities such as drug dealing was high, considering their location.
EACC Head of Corporate Communications Eric Ngumbi said that before the recovery, one of the parcels had been earmarked for the construction of a private airstrip.
Investigations by EACC indicate that Kwale/Shimoni/494 was allocated to Mwanasiti Mohamed Chamba, Christine Mwakudu, and Sally Florence who subsequently transferred it to Pwani Holdings Resort Limited. Another parcel, Kwale/Shimoni/494, was allocated to Shee Hamisi Mwamwindi, Boy Juma Boy, and Bakari Ali Kasirani, who then sold it to Bantus Investment Limited.
Records further show that Kwale/Shimoni/495 was allocated to Nassoro Juma Mwadzikomba who then transferred it to Zameen Land and Sand Company Limited/Serious Holdings Limited. The fourth parcel, Kwale/Shimoni/496, was allocated to Sophie Rahim and Sophie Nzuguka Kilei who subsequently transferred it to Pangos Limited.
According to the EACC, Pwani Holdings Resort, Bantus Investment and Pangos accepted to return the grabbed property and handed over the ownership documents. Recovery of the remaining parcel from Zameen Land and Sand Company is ongoing.
“The commission is in the process of filing a recovery suit following the refusal by the suspect to surrender the property,” said Mr Ngumbi.
EACC launched investigations into how the parcels of land were allocated to private individuals after KWS lodged complaints. The investigations established that the illegal alienation of the properties started in 1994 through the Shimoni settlement scheme extension programme.
Then Minister J. K. Mulinge purportedly approved the allocations of the said settlement resulting in the allocation of land that had been gazetted as a national reserve. In 2020, Kwale/Shimoni/495 was illegally transferred through the Kadhi’s court to Mr Mwadzikomba.
“The allocation and transfer of this land to private individuals was illegal and fraudulent since it had been gazetted as Kisite Mpunguti National Park and Reserve,” EACC said.
Following the findings, the commission informed the beneficiaries and asked them to voluntarily surrender them.
“The commission encourages all other persons illegally holding public property to take advantage of the ADR mechanism to resolve disputes as opposed to waiting for a lengthy and costly litigation process,” said Mr Ngumbi.
EACC is currently in court to recover corruptly acquired assets worth more than Sh8 billion, with Mombasa topping the list in land-grabbing cases.
Data from over 120 active cases filed by the ethics body across the six Coast counties indicate that the grabbed properties include prime parcels of land and houses belonging to different public institutions. Former government officials have been sued in these cases as facilitators of the illegal alienation.
The properties include Kenya Revenue Authority land valued at more than 358.5 million and 10 parcels allegedly grabbed from Moi International Airport, including a military and United Nations support base worth Sh2.5 billion.