5 April 2012

Kenya: Athi River KMC Land Grabbed, Says Kuti

THOUSANDS of acres of Kenya Meat Commission land in Athi River has been grabbed, Livestock minister Mohammed Kuti has said.

Kuti said his ministry is in the process of repossessing the land. But he admitted that KMC has no title deed for the swathes they believed had been illegally allocated to other parties in Mavoko Municipality along Mombasa Road.

Speaking at the KMC plant on Wednesday evening, Kuti said the complication was brought about by a local bank, National Bank of Kenya, that had given the government parastatal a huge loan in the 70s. The bank had taken the KMC land title deed as a collateral and when the Central Bank paid off the outstanding loan to the local bank in 2006, the documents could not be traced.

Company secretary Irene Mbito yesterday said the remaining land that they deem to be rightly theirs cover all the area that the meat plant is and the land on which the parastatal housing estates stand, all totaling to less than 40 acres. Mbito said the entire tract of land space that the Export Processing Zone sits on amounting to over 400 acres, the stretch of land from Athi River to Mlolongo estimated at more than 20, 000 acres and the Sheep and Goats holding grounds at the old Kitengela amounting to more than 20,000 acres and other pieces of land along the Mombasa highway have since been wrestled from them.

Previously, councillors from Mavoko Municipality and other politicians have been accused of robbing the land belonging to KMC commission and interestingly when the Minister of Livestock Development was holding a function at the KMC on Wednesday afternoon, no politician from the area attended the launch of the company's website.

Kuti said he has liaised with the Minister for Lands, James Orengo, in a bid to prepare another copy of the land title but that the headache is how to evict some major investors who could have grabbed their land in Athi River. Most of the suspects are said to have invested billions of shillings in plants and machinery. The Minister who was speaking after launching a new strategic for business for the meat plant, also said the more than 20,000 acres in the old Kitengela called the Goat and Sheep Holding Ground is also being wrestled by members of a community from the neighboring Kajiado County.

He said the land in question has been a holding ground for livestock bought by KMC from other parts of the country for the last more than 60 years and it is wrong for certain political leaders to incite their electorates to demand for a government land. The land was initially, before independence given to British Army as a holding ground for livestock they used to feed on, and was reverted back to the Ministry of Livestock after independence.

Other than land, KMC has also lost its Sh300 million cooling storage and equipment for its meat destined for export at Shimanzi in Mombasa to property grabbers. KMC Chairman Abdi Adan Suleiman said records from their Athi River offices indicates that the property at the coast was grabbed after the government parastatal folded in the mid 1990s.

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