EACC recovers assets including land worth Sh 5billion in South Rift

Mr Ignatius Wekesa -South Rift Regional Manager EACC addressing participants at the workshop in Egerton University

Photo credit: Eric Matara | Nation Media Group

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has recovered assets worth Sh5 billion including public land within the South Rift region, in the last year.

The properties recovered include; grabbed land, houses and other public properties in Nakuru, Kericho, Bomet and Baringo counties.

The revelations were made by the EACC South Rift regional manager Mr Ignatius Wekesa, who spoke at Egerton University in Nakuru County, where the commission has been conducting a specialised capacity-building programme for Integrity Assurance Officers drawn from eight public institutions, including 3 Universities.

"We have recovered public properties including land, worth Sh5 billion that had been illegally acquired by private developers in the South Rift. The properties have been handed back to the rightful owners," revealed Mr Wekesa.

“We are also seeking to recover assets worth Sh2.5 billion shillings and one of them is the Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organisation in Naivasha that is valued at about Sh1.4 billion,” he stated.

Other parcels of land it seeks to recover include; land belonging to the Kenya National Trading Corporation in Nakuru worth Sh200 million and another belonging to the ministry of housing in Kericho worth Sh25 million among others.

Some of the properties recently recovered by the anti-graft body include; a parcel of land in Nakuru worth Sh100 million belonging to the Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya and another in Kabarnet town, in Baringo County valued at Sh5 million, belonging to the Ministry of Housing.

Others are parcels of land in Kericho valued at Sh2.4 million, four parcels of land in Nakuru City each valued at Sh30 million and another worth Sh300 million.

Other properties recovered in Nakuru, Kericho, Bomet and Braingo are houses and other assets valued at millions of shillings.

The EACC is also pursuing parcels of land valued at Sh2.28 billion, through active cases in court.

For instance, in a suit filed before the Environment and Land court in Nakuru, the anti-graft body says that the KARLO land in Naivasha, which houses various government institutions, was illegally allocated to Pineapples Edge Limited and Trojan Nominees Limited.

EACC has also sued former commissioner of lands Wilson Gachanja, alongside former Chief Land Registrar over the land.

The commission says the parties conspired to fraudulently acquire the public land. The anti-graft body accuses Mr Gachanja of knowingly and fraudulently making an offer and granting government land to private companies, while aware that it had been reserved for use by KARLO.

Mr Wekesa further revealed that the commission is investigating alleged the grabbing of parcels of land meant for the construction of an agricultural training centre housing; the National Cereals and Produce Board and trading centres valued at Sh 5.14 billion in Nakuru, Kericho and Baringo Counties.

According to Mr Wekesa, grabbing of land, houses and other property has become prevalent in counties because corrupt government officials were colluding with criminals.

The anti-graft body has now put on notice government officials who collude with criminals to steal public property.

"The EACC warns government officials who work in cohorts with criminals to steal public property. Such officers are on our radar and we will ensure they are prosecuted. The cases are rampant especially in the South Right region because the region has a lot of agricultural land prone to grabbing," said Mr Wekesa.

The Nation also established that the Commission is also investigating reports that upon recovery of public land in different parts of the country and reverting the same to the Government, some corrupt land officials are colluding with new grabbers and illegally reallocating the land in exchange for huge bribes.

Laikipia County is among the most affected counties.

"In addition to the ongoing civil recovery suits, the commission will pursue all the land officials involved and recommend prosecution for abuse of office and fraudulent acquisition of public property," revealed a senior EACC official.

The one-week workshop took place at the ARC Hotel in Egerton University.

The Integrity Assurance Officers, upon specialized training and certification by EACC, are mandated to provide technical support to their respective institutions in the implementation of corruption prevention strategies.

The institutions represented in the workshop include;  Egerton University, University of Kabianga, Masaai Mara Technical Training Institute, Nuclear Power and Energy Agency, Lake Victoria North Water Works Development Authority, Kenya Literature Bureau, State Department of Wildlife Services and Eldoret Water and Sewerage Company Limited.

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