Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Looted assets revert to public

Forestry and Wildlife minister Noah Wekesa addresses staff at the KWS head office in Nairobi. His ministry is due to get back illegally acquired public land today. Photo/ FILE

Forestry and Wildlife minister Noah Wekesa addresses staff at the KWS head office in Nairobi. His ministry is due to get back illegally acquired public land today. Photo/ FILE 

By SAMUEL SIRINGI

The handing over of public property worth Sh6 billion — illegally acquired by prominent politicians and civil servants — starts on Wednesday in Nairobi.

Acting Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission director John Mutonyi is to hand over land worth Sh1.7 billion to Forestry minister Noah Wekesa after recovering it from the grabbers.

This will take place at Jamhuri Park near the War Memorial Cemetery in Nairobi.

Illegally allocated

Those illegally allocated the land include chief executives of State corporations, army commanders and MPs.

The repossessed land includes 100 acres worth Sh1.5 billion illegally alienated from Ngong Forest near Jamhuri Park.

A further 60 acres worth Sh200 million was also illegally alienated from the Nairobi National Park. The remainder of property that has been recovered includes government houses and money traced to some individual’s accounts.

The property had been allocated illegally over the last 10 years.

The Ngong Forest land had initially been identified in 1981 for the construction of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry headquarters.

The government accepted the plan, with the Forestry and Natural Resources ministry starting the process of alteration of boundaries of the forest.

About 13 years later, in 1994, the ministry put up a gazette notice inviting objections from interested people.

But Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, the Green Belt Movement boss, raised objections to the notice, forcing a halt on the process.

“The land was, however, in unclear and suspect circumstances allocated to private developers,” added the agency document.

The commission’s investigations established that indeed the land had been subdivided into portions and allocated to different people.

The land will now revert to the Kenya Forest Service.

At the Nairobi National Park, 28,950 acres had been earmarked for grabbing. The land rightfully belongs to the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Of this, 60 acres were illegally excised without the approval of the Cabinet.

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