The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has successfully reclaimed a public property valued at Sh410 million that belongs to the Kisumu County Government.
EACC Regional Manager Abraham Kemboi stated that the construction of housing units on the wrongfully acquired land has negatively impacted water supply to Kisumu residents.
Kemboi added that
“Sunshine Villas, the proprietor of the building, had charged the title together with other titles to the Bank of Baroda for a loan of Sh180 million.”
Kemboi explained that the land in question is public land designated as an open space, currently utilized by the Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company (KIWASCO). He noted that KIWASCO has laid extensive pipes that transport water from the intake plant in the lake to the water treatment facility located adjacent to the building.
“These pipes are 20 mm and were laid in the 1960’s. The storey building and perimeter wall sit on the pipes laid by (KIWASCO)” he said.
He pointed out that Sunshine Villas, the entity developing the land, had taken the Kisumu County Government to court in 2018, and EACC was subsequently added to the case in 2021.
“Upon admission to participate in the proceedings, EACC made a counterclaim that the land in question is public land,” he said.
Kemboi said government entities approached Sunshine Villa to stop the construction since the land is public land but they defied.
“The National Land Commission (NLC) cautioned Sunshine Villas from developing land when the construction started, similarly, the county government revoked the development approval in 2018 but they continued with the construction works,” he said.
The EACC official said Hon. Justice Samson Okong’o who heard the recovery case found out that the suit property was public land set aside as an open space for use by the public.
The court issued a declaration stating that all transactions resulting in the transfer of ownership of the land to private individuals were null and void, incapable of conferring any right, interest, or title upon the claimants.
Kemboi urged individuals holding titles to wrongfully acquired government property nationwide to willingly surrender them to the Commission, rather than awaiting the expensive and protracted court process.
“As EACC, we appreciate the invaluable support received from the Judiciary in facilitating the recovery through progressive jurisprudence,” he said.