Mombasa County on Thursday took up the land rates bill for the Waitiki Farm beneficiaries who were early this year given the land by the national government.
It will pay Sh1.25 billion to the Settlement Fund Trustee following approval by the County Assembly on Thursday.
The national government bought the 780-acre land from the previous owner, Mr Evans Waitiki, for Sh1.2 billion and President Uhuru Kenyatta asked the 7,807 beneficiaries to only pay Sh182,000 each to the trustee.
The President distributed the title deeds in January and proposed that the new owners pay the money in monthly instalments of Sh1,000 for 12 years.
Later, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho announced that the county would clear the tax bill for them, saying a majority of them could not afford it.
Yesterday, Finance Committee chairman Mohamed Hatimy moved a motion in the Assembly to allocate the money, saying the governor had resolved to take up the cost of the rates for the land in Likoni and that the money would be paid from the Utilisation Fund in monthly instalments of Sh5 million.
Mr Hatimy said the governor reached the decision to clear the payment since the occupants of the farm were poor low-income earners.
“The County Government undertakes to pay Sh1.25 billion to the Settlement Fund Trustees for them to release the land for the benefit of residents,” Mr Hatimy said.
The official explained that the county had committed to paying the whole amount in 23 years. He said the Ministry of Lands would issue the new landowners with freehold title deeds when the full amount was paid up.
Majority Leader Abdalla Kasagamba seconded the motion, saying it was a step in the right direction, while Shanzu Ward representative Maimuna Mwawasi said the residents had suffered for a long time and it was time they lived in peace.
The President issued the title deeds after he brokered a sale deal with Mr Waitiki in November last year after years of dispute with the squatters.