The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is reclaiming more than 30 acres of government land grabbed over the years in Laikipia County.
The grabbers will receive notices next week to explain why the title deeds they hold should not be cancelled, said Central Region EACC Manger Abraham Kemboi.
Some of the 60 pieces of grabbed land are in prime areas of Nanyuki’s Muthaiga estate, where senior national government officers have official residences, including that of the county commissioner.
One acre of land in the prime areas goes for Sh30 million and if the title deeds are revoked, those occupying them, some of whom have put up buildings, will lose millions of shillings.
Government land has also been grabbed in Nyahururu and Rumuruti towns, said Laikipia County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri.
Previous efforts to stop the land-grabbing were futile, with individuals said to have enjoyed the backing of influential people in past governments boldly surveying the land and intimidating government officers who dared to question them.
Affected senior government officials previously reported the malpractice to the anti-graft body but it continues unabated, with the residence of the Laikipia governor the latest reported case of illegal acquisition of government land.
“What the law says now … is that it is not possible to take away government land,” Mr Kemboi said during a media briefing in Nanyuki town.
“So those who imagine that they own titles for the county commissioner’s residence, inform them that they have no land there, because this issue is settled and the easiest avenue is to surrender those titles because if you fight in court, chances are that you will not succeed.”
Mr Kemboi spoke during a multi-agency consultative meeting convened by Governor Joshua Irungu to address challenges related to land, infrastructure, environment and natural resources.
Speaking at the same function, Mr Kanyiri said “private developers” at one time resorted to acts of arson to evict police officers from the Majengo chief’s camp, which houses about 50 officers.
“Out of more than three acres of land that houses the chief’s camp and the police officers attached to the Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit, we now have a quarter acre piece of land with the rest having been taken away,” Mr Kanyiri said.
“There have been several attempts to raze houses occupied by the police officers, all in a bid to kick them out of government land.”
He added that land belonging to the Prisons department has also been grabbed.
Mr Kemboi advised those holding titles for the land to use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms by surrendering the documents to EACC offices and avoid a lengthy litigation process in the Environment and Land Court.