Charity Ngilu names firm linked to school land controversy - Daily Nation

Charity Ngilu names firm linked to school land controversy

Thursday January 22 2015

People watch from a pedestrian crossing as the National Youth Service clears rubble from the playground at Lang’ata Road Primary School on January 21, 2015. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL

People watch from a pedestrian crossing as the National Youth Service clears rubble from the playground at Lang’ata Road Primary School on January 21, 2015. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By EDWIN OKOTH
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By ISAAC ONGIRI
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Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu has named four people behind Lang’ata Road Primary School’s playground land grab, as President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered that all public schools be given title deeds to protect them from land grabbers.

Mrs Ngilu, however failed to disclose the identity of those she claimed sold the disputed land to a company owned by the four.

She spoke as the President ordered her ministry to speed up the processing of the title deeds and hand them to the schools.

“The incident in Lang’ata shocked us and we must now ensure that all public schools get title deeds and the relevant boards of governors be the custodians of the documents,” Mr Kenyatta told residents of Huruma during the launch of the Outer Ring road construction project.

“Public property must be protected,” he said.

The President directed all local leaders and the public to report cases of land grabbing so that the government can take measures to repossess it.

At a press conference in her office, Mrs Ngilu named Nairobi businessmen Mandip Singh Amrit, Manjit Singh Amrit, Harbans Singh Amrit and Kamal Prakash Amrit as the owners of the company linked to the controversial acquisition of Lang’ata Road Primary School land.

The four — a man and his three sons — are directors of a private company known as Airport View Housing Ltd.

“We have already revoked the land title deed issued to the said company and we are in the process of conducting a fresh survey so as to allocate a new title deed to Lang’ata Road Primary School,” she said.

However, the powerful public figure associated with the businessmen, who is believed to have mobilised Lang’ata police to defend the land against protesters on Monday still remained faceless after Ms Ngilu refused to name him or her.

“These are the official names as registered by the government. If you know of any other names please come and tell me. As CS, I cannot rely on rumours and gossip,” said Ms Ngilu.

Of all the four, Mr Harbans Singh is the largest shareholder, with records from the registrar of companies showing that he owned 3,000 of the 5,000 shares. Mandip and Kamal have 1,000 each, while Manjit has none.

Mrs Ngilu also warned all land grabbers in the country to voluntarily surrender illegally-acquired title deeds before the government starts cracking down on illegal occupation of public land.

SHARED THE INFORMATION

However, she did not say whether the government would pursue the four directors over the attempted occupation of school land. She only said that she had shared the information in her possession with relevant state agencies for further investigations.

According to her, Airport View Housing Ltd was conned into acquiring the land by a seller who presented fake documents, which were then used to transfer the land. She did not name the seller.

Ms Ngilu has been under pressure to reveal the identities of those behind the attempt to fence off the land. Among those who put her on the spot was the President, who demanded to know why the dispute had taken so long to resolve, and Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula, who alleged that those who had attempted to take over the school land also had other suspect allocations of land in the city.

Police on Monday used tear gas to disperse pupils and other demonstrators protesting the fencing off of the playground. The construction was done during the December school holidays.

On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Joseph Nkaissery urged Ms Ngilu and National Land Commission boss Muhammad Swazuri to name the land grabber.