The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has successfully reclaimed government land spanning five acres and valued at Sh345 million. This prime parcel, situated in the central business district of Nakuru City, was seized by a former Commissioner of Lands and a Member of Parliament.
The property, which holds 20 two-bedroom houses, was fraudulently acquired through companies and proxies, as per information disclosed by the agency to the media. Notably, this valuable land is officially owned by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
Godfrey Oyugi, the South Rift Regional Manager of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), stated that the land had originally been earmarked and utilized for government housing purposes.
He mentioned, “The government residential quarters, commonly referred to as St. Xavier Estate, are situated off Oginga Odinga Avenue, along Gusii Road.”
While speaking during a site visit to the property on Sunday, Mr. Oyugi disclosed that the agency has successfully recovered assets exceeding Sh7 billion in Nakuru County alone. He said the commission won a case against former Commissioner of Lands Wilson Gachanja and two private entities, namely Pembeni Limited and Liberty Assurance Limited, which were associated with a former Aldai MP.
“The commission also sued Saleh Chepkole and Titus Kipkemboi who were also involved in the land transfer fraud with Gachanja,” said Oyugi.
Oyugi revealed that Gachanja engaged in fraudulent practices by allocating the land to Chepkole and Kipkemboi, who later transferred it to Pembeni and Liberty Assurance. Furthermore, he noted that the Lands Court, in its ruling, invalidated all transactions that contributed to the illegal transfer of the land.
“The court ordered the land to be registered in the name of the Permanent Secretary (PS) Treasury, in trust, on behalf of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development,” said the South Rift Regional EACC Manager.
According to Oyugi, civil servants currently inhabit the property and have been fulfilling their rent obligations to the government. He emphasized that the primary concern was the property being registered under the company’s name instead of the government’s.
“Since the civil servants have not bought the land but only occupy the houses as tenants, they will not be evicted. The only process will be rectification of the titles for the land,” said Oyugi.
Oyugi issued a stern warning to government officials implicated in land fraud, asserting that the commission was vigilant and prepared to take decisive action against any individual, without bias. He advised those unlawfully occupying government land and possessing titles to promptly surrender them to the government, emphasizing the futility of engaging in prolonged and expensive legal processes that would ultimately result in their defeat.
“Do not fight a losing battle in court. Surrender the land. EACC has the mandate to negotiate with those who surrender the land under the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) framework,” he said.