26 June 2012

Kenya: 200 Families Face Eviction in Eldoret Land Dispute

About 200 families, including some Kanu era power barons, could be evicted from part of the controversial 800-acre property allegedly grabbed from a widow in Eldoret.

They allegedly bought the land from the powerful individuals and land agents. Some of those who bought the land have put up palatial homes and business premises. They now stand to lose the land or pay up heavy penalties to compensate the family of the late Kimitei Nyongio.

The government has already began a probe into how the land changed hands from the widow of the late Nyongio to a few powerful individuals who then sold it out to unsuspecting buyers. CID officers from the Land Fraud Unit have completed the first phase of investigations. The land is located near the Chepkoilel University College on the Eldoret-Ziwa-Kitale road. "The CID officers from Nairobi are handling the matter and have recorded statements and we will have the final details soon," said the Eldoret CID boss Isaac Musyoki.

Officials from four land buying companies have already recorded statements with the CID officers to explain how they sold the land to the families and ended up using or issuing alleged fake documents to the buyers. The land in question is now valued at more than Sh1 billion and if the government proves the land was illegally taken away from Nyongio's widow Ann Kimitei, then the families stand to pay more than Sh1.2 million per acre as compensation to the family.

CID officers have recorded statements from more than 20 people alleged to have been involved in the take over of the land registered as LR No 9723/IRI 5449/ii. Former Kenya Pipeline Company managing director Ezekiel Komen, former Paramount Chief Eric Tarus and former mayor of Eldoret Josiah Magut are among those who have recorded statements.

CID director Ndegwa Muhoro ordered that eight former powerful individuals in the Kanu regime and other individuals be investigated. Ann Kimitei and her son James Mitei have also recorded statements. Senior officers from the unit last Friday stormed the property near Chepkoilel Campus and began recording the statements. Some of those being investigated include former Internal Security PS Wilfred Kimalat and businessman Ben Kutto.

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