13 March 2018

Kenya: Prime Airport Land Open to Grabbers as Title Deeds Missing

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has no title deeds for five key international airports, exposing prime land to the risk of invasion by private developers.

The Public Investments Committee (PIC) was shocked to learn that title deeds for Kisumu International Airport and Manda airstrip in the tourist town of Lamu are missing.The committee heard that title deeds for Eldoret International and Wilson airports are in the hands of private lawyers.

"It is shocking that title deeds for our major airports are missing and the KAA has no explanation as to where they are. It is equally disturbing how private law firms can hold titles for a State corporation," Abdulswamad Nassir, the PIC chairman said during the scrutiny of KAA books of accounts for the years 2012/13 to 2015/16.

Jonny Andersen, the KAA managing director, told the committee chaired by that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is holding the title deed for Ukunda airstrip following investigations into excision of airport land.

Mr Andersen, however, shocked MPs when he informed them that no action had been taken to report the loss of titles for Kisumu and Manda airstrip forcing Mr Abdulswamad to order him to ensure that a caveat is placed at the Ministry of Land to protect the property.

"For Wilson Airport, the title is with the lawyers because they are executing a sublease. We have leased land to third parties and we have given our titles to the lawyers to facilitate preparation of the subleases. This also applies to Eldoret International Airport," Mr Andersen told MPs.

He was put to task to provide documentary evidence and proof that the titles were with either the lawyers or the EACC.

"There is something being hidden here. Why didn't KAA provide any document to show that EACC took the title or the documents are with the lawyers," Mr Nassir said.

He directed Mr Andersen to immediately contact the private law firm to provide certified copies of the titles they hold and the status of the transfer of the subleases.

Mr Andersen assured the MPs that the airport land was safe.

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