Soon after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the National Land Commission (NLC) to revoke the Kibarani dumpsite land title and hand it over to the Mombasa County government, the green cards of the contentious plots disappeared mysteriously from the Ministry of Lands.
A green card is a document that holds the original records of all transactions relating to a piece of land and that serves as a reference document. The information on the title deed must tally with that on the card.
Without a green card, one cannot claim to be the owner of a property even if one has a title deed.
NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri said they cannot trace some of the green cards, especially for the dumpsite land.
“We shall find out where the green cards, titles and deed plans are. We can ascertain ownership through other means, but four of the Kibarani dumpsite green cards got lost and we are investigating, but the rest are intact,” Prof Swazuri said.
Thirty acres of the Indian Ocean within Kibarani was also irregularly allocated to individuals.
However, Mr Swazuri said the 30 acres, which comprises seven parcels of the ocean, will be revoked since the law does not allow individuals to own the sea.
“But I don’t know if the people were aware that they were being allocated water, I am not sure. But that is how bad and far we have gone,” Prof Swazuri said during a survey of the dumpsite yesterday.
Showing a map to journalists, Prof Swazuri said the individuals paid survey fees for allocation of plots within the ocean.
“It is unacceptable. The ocean cannot be allocated to anybody, but things happen. This is obviously irregular. The county government is also guilty of dumping garbage in the ocean, so you know what kind of fish you’ve been eating,” the NLC boss said.
Mombasa tycoons, who are said to have title deeds for the ocean plots and the 50-year-old dumpsite, suffered a major blow when the Head of State issued the orders.
Yesterday, the NLC boss announced that his commission will revoke land title deeds and 'ownership' of the ocean that were irregularly allocated to individuals and companies.
“Whenever we have an issue with a particular parcel of land, records usually disappear because people are trying to hide the truth. But we will get to the bottom of this because government records never get lost; we have backup from the former municipal council,” Prof Swazuri said.
Investigations by the Nation revealed that a tycoon and a politician are among those who grabbed the Kibarani land, including plots in the ocean.
However, Mr Swazuri said he is yet to find out if politicians are involved, saying the owners have been listed as companies.
There are more than three container freight stations and yards in the grabbed land.
Accompanied by county government, Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute officials, Prof Swazuri said the multi-sectoral team will unearth the irregular allocation of land within the Makupa Causeway towards the Changamwe roundabout.
Prof Swazuri said there is massive encroachment and reclamation that is threatening the existence of Mombasa island.
The NLC boss said there are more than 80 acres of government land in Kibarani. Part of the land has been given out procedurally but part of it has been grabbed.