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What CS Kaimenyi found at the Thika Lands Registry.

Lands CS Jacob Kaimenyi addressing the press outside the Thika Lands Registry after making an impromptu visit on Wednesday. 
Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi has expressed displeasure in the bad records management at the Thika Lands Registry which could be attributed to the loss of files and time wastage.

The CS was also shocked to discover that officers at the registry lacked some of the vital documents required for them to do their job effectively.

Speaking to the press after making an impromptu visit on Wednesday, Kaimenyi promised to immediately dispatch to the registry, all the requisite data avail to ensure that its staff did their according to the law.

“Every land registry must have copies of National and Policy, recent land laws which include the Land Law Amendment Act and Community Land Act,” he said.

The visit, which caught the staff unawares, exposed the rot in the department with members of the public accusing the office of poor service delivery.

Kaimenyi said that his visit was necessitated by a series of complaints related to fraud at the registry especially on matters concerning land registration and transactions, missing records and poor service delivery.

To address this, the CS said that the government was in the process of digitising all operations at the Ministry of Lands at a cost of Sh. 17 billion in order to improve service delivery and wade off brokers.

“The digitisation of all land registries in Kenya will minimise face-to-face interactions which will go a long way in fighting the cartel and brokers who have been having field days at these registries,” said Kaimenyi.

The digital process, he said, would enable Kenyans to make land rent payments, apply for titles and application for valuations and processing online.

He added that the ministry will also introduce a Biometric Access Control Card to confine registry staff at their work stations and restrain them from interfering with operations of other departments.

The Thika Lands Registry, which one of busiest in the Mt. Kenya region, has been accused to have been infiltrated with fraudsters and cartels who have been working in cahoots with some lands officers to deny landowners access to essential services and documents.

“This place is usually jammed with brokers who collude with some unscrupulous staff to fleece Kenyans a lot of money. These are the people behind missing files. It is now over three months since I started pursuing the replacement of my mother’s title deed to be processed at this registry but nothing is forthcoming until now,” claimed Joseph Mwangi from Kabati whose mother lost a title deed.

This visit, says Mwangi, was their sixth time at the registry since they embarked on the pursuant of this crucial document early in August.

The members of the public we spoke to called on the Ministry of Lands to transfer officers who have worked at the station for years, arguing that the move will improve integrity and break cartels and brokers.

They complained of the tedious process involved at the registry offices and welcomed the idea of digitisation of records which would mean that Kenyans will not have to go lands registries to obtain certain very basic services.

“If the ministry can avail core services online, some of these problems will be eradicated and cases of land fraud will be a thing of the past,” said Njoroge Mwaura from Juja Sub-County who has been at the registry to obtain a title deed for a piece of land he had bought from a land buying company.

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