It has now emerged that President Uhuru Kenyatta was duped into presenting dummy title deeds at Jacaranda Grounds May last year.
The revelations emerged during a Nairobi County Assembly Planning Committee sitting where it was revealed that during the ceremony, where President Kenyatta presented 50,000 titles, only 50 titles were genuine.
Appearing before the committee chaired by Waithaka MCA Anthony Kiragu, City Hall Lands and Housing executive was hard pressed to explain who lied to the President into unknowingly presiding over the handing over of the titles when only 50 were ready.
“As a committee, we want to know who lied to the President that 50,000 titles were ready whereas that was not the truth,” demanded Mr Kiragu.
Mr Kerich confirmed that only 623 title deeds have been issued to residents of Eastlands since President Kenyatta launched the exercise last year.
The Head of State while announcing that he had issued 50,000 title deeds to the residents in a move aimed at unlocking more than Sh20 billion through business and investment, also promised that 100, 000 titles will be released by the end of 2018.
Mr Kerich, though admitting that the process has taken longer than expected, said that City Hall was to issue only 30,000 titles with the rest being handled by the national government through the Ministry of Lands.
“Out of the 50,000 title deeds, the county was only supposed to do 30,000 with the rest being handled by the national government. Currently, we have another 27,000 ledger records (mainly from Dandora Registry) have been digitized at the Ministry of Lands reading for printing of titles upon preparation and registration of corresponding lease documents,” said Mr Kerich.
He further said that Governor Mike Sonko is set hand out 423 title deeds that have already been processed with another 1,200 having been forwarded to acting County Attorney David Oseko for sealing and signing.
Beneficiaries of the titles, mostly in the Eastern parts of Nairobi included land acquired through site schemes, land buying companies, the National Social Security Fund, Civil Servant Housing Schemes, those in informal settlements and Public Facilities.
“There is a misconception regarding the number of title deeds to be provided by the county government. The 50,000 title deeds to be issued last year were a collective from the county as well as the Ministry of Lands and we did that figure based on a realistic target we saw could be met,” he said.
However, Mr Kerich was put to task by Mr Kiragu why the five law firms engaged by the county government to manage the titling process continued to collect money from residents without any work being done yet City Hall has a legal department.
The Lands executive said that the decision to hire five external legal firms to conduct the process was because City Hall’s legal department is completely depleted and lacking in capacity informing the engaging of the five law firms – Miller and Company Advocates, Okundi and Company Advocates, KTK Advocates, MMC Africa Law and Kamau, Atudo, Macharia Advocates.
“Our legal department is understaffed and that’s why we chose to hire five external law firms because if we chose to do it internally it would probably take us 10 years. The fee of Sh30,000 was also the bare minimum that the firms could charge and we felt it was fair,” said Mr Kerich.
Mr Kiragu said the ward representatives have been receiving complaints from the public that the five law firms have been collecting money from members of the public for eight months yet only623 titles have been issued.
Mr Kerich, however, defended the law firms saying that the process had experienced problems such as political interference where leaders have been inciting the residents not to pay Sh30,000 conveyance fees to law firms involved in the process.
“Our biggest challenge is that politicians tell their constituents not to pay telling them they should be getting them for free. If someone has told them not to pay yet they are required to pay Sh30, 000 then the process comes to a standstill,” he said, adding that the titles for those who had paid were being processed.
“We admit that we are way off our target but we are even seeking this committee to help us fast track the process since you as members represent the people,” he added.