Lands Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome was on Thursday hard-pressed to explain the circus surrounding the ownership of the land where the Kenya International Convention Center (KICC).

This happened as parliament gave her 30 days to produce the title deed for the land where the iconic building sits.

In a stormy session, Ms Wahome fretted before members of the Public Investment Committee on Governance and Education as she sought to dispel fears that KICC land has been grabbed, subdivided and is under the ownership of individuals.

She appeared before the committee with her Tourism counterpart Dr Alfred Mutua.

In 2021, Auditor General Nancy Gathangu revealed that the Government of Kenya is not the owner of the land where the 28-storey building sits.

However, the CS said the land where KICC sits as well as the adjacent Garden Square whose ownership has also been contested, are not owned by anyone and are in the name of the National Treasury according to the land registry.

“The land between Parliament and City Hall Way, Garden Square, Comesa, Parliament building has not been allocated and is secure. I will get the support of parliament to deal with any illegal allocation and the President but as of now that is not the problem,” said Ms Wahome.

“No allocation can be done without my signature and approval. The National Land Commission has already confirmed that this land is already safe so I plead for patience on this,” she added.

Still under the ownership of the government

The chairman of the committee David Pkosing (Pokot South) led MPs in pressing the CS to categorically make it clear whether Garden Square and the adjacent areas were still under the ownership of the government and if they had been sold.

“There is an assumption that the land is gone and we need to tell Kenyans the truth. This issue has been dragging on and must be concluded because we understand there is also a conflict of interest,” said Mr Pkosing.

The CS seems to have been cornered by tough questions from Yusuf Farah (Wajir West), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Laikipia East), Captain Ronald Karauri (Kasarani) and Eldas MP Adan Keynan.

The Cs was at pains to convince the legislators to give her 30 days to produce vital documents and survey reports to show that the KICC land has not ended at the hands of the individuals.

She quoted her busy travelling schedule and the extensive required documented evidence like the survey map and other necessary processes as to why she had sought for such a time.

Mr Karauri faulted the CS for moving back and forth on the issue claiming cartels at both the national and county governments can use the time frame for manipulation thus a quick action is required.

“As much as our intentions are clean and we want this land to belong to KICC, the more time we give it, the more time we will lose control of this issue. The Garden Square people who are tenants are also claiming the ownership of this land and that is why we are here because they went to court and got an order barring subdivision and allocation of this land,” said Mr Karauri.

KICC was in November last year listed among 10 other state-run entities that will be handed over to private operators in the state privatisation programme. It is valued at Sh6.25 billion.

Former Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat in 2012 claimed that the party had a title deed to the building and even listed it among its assets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *