Grab­bing of 217-acre air­port land baf­fles NLC

The il­le­gal al­lo­ca­tions ex­tend to the tar­mac at JKIA, as well as to the des­ig­nated site of the planned sec­ond run­way

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - BY WAL­TER MENYA

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How 87.9 hectares (217 acres) of land be­long­ing to Jomo Keny­atta In­ter­na­tional Air­port (JKIA) was ex­cised and al­lo­cated to firms and in­di­vid­u­als is a mys­tery that has baf­fled the Na­tional Land Com­mis­sion (NLC).

The com­mis­sion is now pre­par­ing to re­voke 119 ti­tles that were il­le­gally ac­quired as JKIA was reg­u­lar­is­ing its own­er­ship of the land where the air­port sits, as well as af­ter the re­gion’s pre­mier avi­a­tion hub ac­quired its ti­tle in 1996.

“There are two kinds of peo­ple we are deal­ing with: some in­side the air­port who got the ti­tles just be­fore JKIA got theirs, and others who were cre­at­ing ti­tles on top of the JKIA ti­tle,” NLC vice chair­per­son Abi­gael Mba­gaya said.

Of the 87.9 hectares un­der re­view, 77.3 hectares were ex­cised af­ter 1996 af­ter JKIA had its ti­tle, and only 10.6 hectares be­fore then.

NLC says the 119 ti­tles are just a part of the il­le­gal al­lo­ca­tions on JKIA land. “Only those with avail­able data (have been) in­cluded”, mean­ing hun­dreds others could be out there.

Some of the il­le­gal al­lo­ca­tions ex­tend to the tar­mac at JKIA, as well as the des­ig­nated site for the planned sec­ond run­way, and all are for 99-year leases. For in­stance, the par­cel of land (LR No. 9042/632) claimed by Hunt­ing Aero­space has been iden­ti­fied to have been hived off, while LR Nos. 14231 and 13512, owned by two Syoki­mau land com­pa­nies, sit right in­side the pro­posed sec­ond run­way at JKIA.

The real ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the il­le­gal ex­ci­sions may never be known as most of the ti­tles are in the names of shad­owy com­pa­nies and in­clude no­to­ri­ous Syoki­mau firms, which have over the years been ac­cused of land grab­bing and de­fraud­ing buy­ers.

On Novem­ber 22, the NLC sum­moned firms and in­di­vid­u­als who lay claim to plots within JKIA to a meet­ing to “tell us how they ac­quired ti­tles to land that be­longs to JKIA.”

“They ap­peared and re­quested to be given time to re­spond to claims by JKIA, which had re­ported that the land had been given to the air­port many decades ago and it got a ti­tle for the en­tire land mea­sur­ing 4,674.6 hectares,” said Ms Mba­gaya.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, they were to present orig­i­nal plot al­lo­ca­tion doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing let­ters of of­fer/ al­lot­ment, re­ceipts of pay­ment for al­lo­ca­tion, part devel­op­ment plans, deed plans, ti­tle deeds, leases and “any other rel­e­vant doc­u­ments of own­er­ship.”

A full hear­ing is sched­uled for De­cem­ber 19. In the mean­time, prepa­ra­tions to re­voke the il­le­gal ti­tles are on­go­ing.

Of the 119 ti­tles, 62 were done from 1996 af­ter JKIA was granted a ti­tle, while 57 were ac­quired be­fore 1996. “Be­fore JKIA could get their ti­tle, be­tween the pe­ri­ods when com­pul­sory ac­qui­si­tion was be­ing done, some took ad­van­tage to cre­ate plots. Then again, while JKIA was sit­ting pretty, com­fort­able on its ti­tle, some peo­ple were cre­at­ing plots in­side their land and get­ting ti­tles for the same. But the long and short of it is that there is a lot of pub­lic util­ity land in the wrong hands, and JKIA is just one of them. As NLC, we must do the right thing for the coun­try and the avi­a­tion in­dus­try,” said Ms Mba­gaya.

Pre­vi­ously, JKIA was op­er­at­ing on "reser­va­tion", a pres­i­den­tial de­cree des­ig­nat­ing the land as be­long­ing to the air­port, but with no ti­tle. Then on Au­gust 1, 1996, JKIA was al­lo­cated LR No. 21919, which is 4,674.6 hectares (11,551.2 acres) un­der grant num­ber 70118 for 99 years.

Ac­cord­ing to NLC, JKIA has never made any al­ter­ations to its ti­tle and all ex­ci­sions made on the land are il­le­gal and will be re­voked.

Be­sides JKIA, NLC has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing il­le­gal en­croach­ment on land be­long­ing to Wil­son Air­port on Lang’ata Road. In Au­gust, the Kenya Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (KCAA), for in­stance, said the plot where We­ston Ho­tel stands is among hun­dreds of parcels that it in­tends to re­claim from pri­vate de­vel­op­ers. The ho­tel is as­so­ci­ated with Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto.

A sec­tion of the pro­posed Ter­mi­nal 2 at JKIA, most of which has been ex­cised by pri­vate de­vel­op­ers. Of the 87.9 hectares un­der re­view by NLC, 77.3 hectares were ex­cised af­ter 1996 af­ter the air­port had ac­quired its ti­tle.

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