A successful recovery yet again for EACC in Kakamega
31:01:2024: The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has recovered yet another parcel of grabbed government land in Kakamega Municipality.
Kakamega Town Block III/271 is a piece of land measuring 0.22 acres that was hived off Kakamega Municipality Block III that the Government had reserved and built residential houses for civil servants and government officers.
On November 1, 2001, Sammy Silas Komen Mwaita, then Commissioner of Lands leased Kakamega Town Block III/271 to Audrey Nakholo. The parcel of land was registered in Ms Nakholo’s name on September 28, 2007, and a certificate of lease was issued.
The Commission filed a suit against the alienation and transfer of the parcel of land on May 27, 2009, and named Audrey Nakholo and Sammy Mwaita as first and second defendants respectively. It later added Judith Marilyn Okungu who had later on replaced Mr. Mwaita in the matter in the capacity of Commissioner of Lands and effected the illegal transfer as the third defendant.
EACC argued that the purported allocation, survey and creation of the suit land within the boundaries of land set aside and developed with government houses was done fraudulently and unlawfully. It also argued that the same was contrary to the provisions of the Government Lands Act Cap 280, Registered Land Act Cap 300 and the Town Planning Act Cap 134.
Ms Nakholo, the Commission urged, knew or ought to have known that the suit property was reserved and developed with Government residential houses and was therefore unavailable for allocation. That she knew or ought to have known that the alienation and allocation of the suit property by the second defendant was done in blatant disregard of relevant statutory provisions and regulations on alienation of Government land. She failed to make inquiries, and agreed to benefit from the allocation of the suit property when she knew or ought to have known that the same was not available for allocation.
The Commission accused the second defendant of, among others, recklessly failing to comply with relevant statutes and regulations governing the administration and alienation of government land.
The Commission prayed for several declarations and orders. One, a declaration that the alienation of the suit property and the subsequent registration and issuance of the certificate of lease to the first defendant was irregular, fraudulent, illegal, and, consequently, null and void. Two, a declaration that the registration of the suit property in the name of the first defendant conferred no estate, interest or right to her. An order directing the Land Registrar, Kakamega to cancel the certification of the lease in the Land Register in respect of the suit property and, lastly, an order of permanent injunction restraining the first defendant and her agents from dealing in the suit property in any way.
The first defendant, it must be noted, did not enter appearance in the suit and an interlocutory judgement was entered against her on the Commission’s request.
Delivering his judgement on December 8, 2023, at the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Kakamega, Hon. Linus Kassan Concurred with the Commission that indeed, “the parcel of land was obtained irregularly and unlawfully through fraudulent and a corrupt scheme.” He granted all the plaintiff’s prayers including that the suit property be delivered back to the Government.