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New team to resolve dispute over online land transactions

Monday May 21 2018

Land secretary Farida Karoney. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Land secretary Farida Karoney. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By JAMES KARIUKI
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A stalemate over activation of an online platform that may exclude lawyers from the multi-billion shilling land conveyancing business has been referred to a soon-to-be formed taskforce.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and Land secretary Farida Karoney agreed on an all stakeholders’ representative taskforce be formed to address issues raised on the shortcomings of the Land Information Management Systems (Lims). “The taskforce will recommend guidelines towards implementation of the electronic registration and conveyancing system in compliance  with Regulation 90 of the Land Registration (General Regulations, 2017),” she said.

The taskforce will comprise of 15 members drawn from the ministry, the National Land Commission, LSK, the Attorney-General’s Office, Kenya Property Developers, Land Development and Governance Institute, Kenya Bankers Association, Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Institute of Surveyors of Kenya and Real Estate Association.To assert her control over the taskforce’s member composition, Ms Karoney added that nominating bodies must forward three names out of which she will pick one representative “with due regard to gender and diversity of skills and professional, to be part of the 15 member taskforce”.

Last month, LSK opposed activation on Lims which would have allowed individuals and companies to buy and sell land online without execution of various processes involving lawyers such as filling of Land Transfer Forms.

Lawyers earn commissions as commissioners of oath where they append a seal on land transfer documents. They also earn agency and processing fees when a large chunk of land is subdivided.

LSK boss Allen Gichuhi opposed exclusion of lawyers in the land transaction processes, saying it was against laid down provisions where parties to land sales were required to affirm on oath granting approval to sale of matrimonial land and verification of parties.

Lims introduces an online verification portal on e-citizen where buyers and sellers of land will initiate the sales process from search to transfer of titles.