Magarini Member of Parliament Michael Kingi has decried irregular land sales taking place in his constituency and blamed unscrupulous tycoons, government officials and gullible elders for the rampant vice.
Kingi said wealthy individuals were colluding with poor but greedy elders to buy land at throwaway prices and re-sell the same at exorbitant rates raking in huge profits.
Speaking to journalists at Kamale Primary School in Adu Ward, Kingi said hundreds of acres of land in the constituency had been sold at extremely cheap prices at the expense of poverty-stricken locals.
“The tycoons have been colluding with government officials and gullible elders in the constituency to buy huge chunks of land while abusing the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ principle,” he said.
He said the irregular land deals started immediately after local residents were issued with land ownership documents following an adjudication process initiated by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi several years ago.
The MP warned elders who sold off the land without following due process that they could be forced to pay back the money adding he would not allow rich individuals to use their wealth to exploit the poor residents.
Some tycoons, he said, had acquired up to 500,000 acres of land at throwaway prices despite the fact that the locals are yet to get land title deeds.
“Many wealthy persons have thronged Magarini to hoodwink the locals, who have not owned land since independence, to reverse the gains made by the government through the adjudication of land in this area,” he lamented.
He said that some of the business magnates, who are taken to the area by senior government officials, are buying the land and processing title deeds immediately after paying for the land.
Kingi also cited a recent incident in which some elders acting as brokers of certain tycoons caused the arrest of fellow elders in Marereni who were opposed to the dubious deals, forcing him (MP) to intervene and force their unconditional release.
He warned that future generations in the area would find themselves landless if the mindless sale of land is not stopped forthwith.
Recently, the County Government of Kilifi announced a raft of measures aimed at taming unscrupulous and irregular land dealings in the coastal county.
Through a public notice appearing in a local daily, the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Lands, Charles Dadu Karisa, said the irregular land dealings had led to the loss of community and public land to unscrupulous persons.
“The County Government of Kilifi is deeply concerned about reports of land transactions, including buying and selling, which disregard or circumvent the prevailing land laws and related legislation hence leading to loss of community land and public land and the irregular use of land,” he said in the advertisement.
Karisa said the county administration would challenge, with the intention to block or revoke any land registration borne out of irregular land transactions touching on community land or public land in accordance with the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the Community Land Act.
He said the county government would invoke provisions of the law to stop the unapproved change of userland transactions, with special reference to the unpermitted conversion of high potential agricultural land in Magarini Sub County to other uses.