Busia County land scandal

Lands CS Hon. Zachary Mwangi Njeru.

There’s a high level scandal at the Busia lands office.

Staff at the Ministry of Lands are denying the country the much needed revenue from stamp duty at a time the government of President William Ruto is sealing such losses.

According to a local investigative journalist, a private Surveyor in Busia claims that Busia Lands registrar has been shortchanging them in terms of stamp duty deals.

“Tulipanga tuu vizuri tukuje tumuone kwa hii mambo ya stamp duty vile anatunyoa. Tukasema mimi ndio nitakuwa group leader kupeleka memorandum yetu lakini mmoja wetu akatuuza,” said the Surveyor.

The surveyor added, “We planned to go and see him over the stamp duty issue to tell him how he was shortchanging us. We agreed that I would be the team leader but one of us betrayed the group”

Undervaluing land

“You don’t have to disclose the actual measurements. Don’t also worry about the duration in which a Title Deed should be out what is important is whether the client is able to pay”, a lady at the center of the wrangles being witnessed at the Lands office is heard in an audio explained how it is done.

According to investigations, Lands officers enters wrong figures into the Lands records after undervaluing lands hence not entering the actual figure meaning that Government ends up losing hundreds of millions in terms of revenue that end up in people’s pockets.

This must stop.

Strange staff and disappearing documents

The Busia County Lands registrar Wilfred Nyandoro Nyaberi is reportedly harboring some ghost workers.

One ghost worker, a lady by the name Veronica Bwari or ‘Vero’ is said to have access the Custody Room where sensitive land documents are kept.

“It’s unbelievable that a whole registrar is confirming that outsiders are working in cahoots with the staff to steal documents and yet he does nothing. I think it’s high time he told us why he has refused to let the lady whose contract has expired to go. We too suspect the lady could also be holding a lot of information that makes the registrar refuse to allow her leave”, said one staff.

Staff and land buyers believe that Veronica is responsible for disappearance of some land records.

Ms. Bwari has been assigned several duties among them typing of Title deeds and filling of searches among others something the staffs say may land the office into problems since those are very sensitive documents.

When asked whether he had a relationship with the lady in question, Nyaribe was quick to deny saying that when he joined the station four years ago he found the lady there but only decided to retain her after being pleased in the manner in which she was executing her duties.

“This lady does exemplary work which no member of the staff matches her”, he said.

Busia land office Nyaribe Vero

Speaking on phone Nyaribe further said that at age 54 he was old enough and that he didn’t have the energy to have more than one woman.

“Mimi niko tuu na risasi moja siwezi kuwa na mwanamke mwingine” (I have only one bullet hence unable to sustain another woman)

The origins of Ms. Veronica Bwari

Sources within the office revealed that Bwari was hired as a casual worker together with four other ladies in 2015 during a file cleaning exercise that had been sanctioned by former Lands CS Charity Ngilu and she was required to leave immediately the exercise was over but how she has remained in the office to date remains a mystery since the other four girls already left.

“This lady has been given immense authority that she overrides bona-fide employees of the Ministry. I am a long serving civil servant but imagine if I have to see my boss to sign a document for me I must pass through Vero. We hope that the Ministry can do something urgently”, said a staff member on condition of anonymity.

The staff further revealed that Nyaribe has been forcing staff members to contribute money in the office to pay for electricity bills and other expenses despite having the ‘Authority to incur’ AIE.

“When I tried questioning why members of staff were being asked to foot the electricity bills and purchasing of stationeries when there was an AIE, he threatened to move me out of the station and take me elsewhere”, she said.

She further disclosed that Nyaribe who was once on interdiction for close to 10 years before being moved to Busia has blocked several transfers with the help of a godfather at the Ministry Headquarters in Nairobi.

When contacted for comments, the outgoing CS for Lands Farida Karoney said on phone, ” I will assign an officer to look into this matter for immediate action”, the investigative journalist reported.

The ministry is now in the hands of a new Cabinet Secretary. calls upon Zachariah Mwangi Njeru and his PPS Nixon Korir to solve the matter.

About the author

Karecha Kamaris

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