Title deed for Shimo la Tewa prison's 800 acres goes missing

 David Maraga

Former Chief Justice David Maraga (centre) and other members of the police and prison reforms task force during a tour of Shimo La Tewa Maximum Security Prison  in Mombasa yesterday. 

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

The title deed to the more than 800 acres on which stands Shimo La Tewa Maximum Security Prison in Mombasa County cannot be traced, the police and prison reform task force was told yesterday.

The committee, chaired by former Chief Justice David Maraga and Dr Simiyu Werunga, was taken aback when the prison management said they neither have the title, nor do they know where it is.

It also emerged that the ownership of some part of the land hosting the largest correctional facility in the Coast region could also be in dispute.

An old hotel, CAS-Elbahar, is built on part of the prison’s land.

A private developer is one of the people claiming ownership of more than six acres of the prison land, which neighbours the Mtwapa Creek on the Indian Ocean.

Shanzu Law Courts

“We are going to seek that evidence from the Lands office because [our job] is to get a title deed or to recommend that a title deed be given for government land that is occupied by the prisons and the police,” said Mr Maraga. The more than 800 acres also host Shimo la Tewa Boys, Mama Ngina Girls, the Shimo la Tewa Borstal Institution and the Shanzu Law Courts.

Mr Maraga who was accompanied by the prison’s bosses, toured the wardens’ houses to check their living conditions. The team found many of the houses in a deplorable condition.

The prison hosts more than 500 wardens. Mr Maraga said the more than 800 acres can be used to build new and decent houses for the wardens. There are two blocks consisting of 100 units that have been built in an attempt to improve the wardens’ living standard.

Construction started during former President Uhuru Kenyatta tenure. The new blocks consist of bedsitters, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units. The task force was formed by President William Ruto to look into the welfare of police officers and prison wardens and recommend appropriate action.