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Investor loss fears as land registries closed indefinitely

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For close to two months now, the national land registries have remained shut, effectively freezing multibillion-shilling transactions amid rising disquiet by interest groups.

Land Cabinet Secretary (CS) Farida Karoney announced that in compliance with the Presidential directive on the management and mitigation of Covid-19, the ministry would scale down its operations from March 17.

But a few days before the directive, the ministry had published a notice intending to close registries at Ardhi House for purposes of conducting an audit. The move forced the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) to rush to court, seeking orders to compel the CS to rescind the decision.

Through lawyer Duncan Anzala, LSK said it was concerned that the closure will affect transactions worth millions of shillings.

The lawyers’ umbrella body argued that the operations at the Nairobi district and central registries would be stifled for the three-week period, the registries will remain closed.

While the closure on March 17 was necessary as the government announced measures to stop the spread of the pandemic and to protect employees, it was not the first time, having been a regular phenomenon for the last seven years.

Former Land CS Charity Ngilu, now Kitui County Governor, tried during her tenure and there was an uproar although many Kenyans agree that

the registries had been plagued by corruption including hiding of files for gain, interference with information and fraudulent creation of multiple records for same parcels of land.

Files at the Central Registry of the Ministry of Land. The ministry ordered closure of registries last month to facilitate an audit. –FILE

The digitisation of land records in Nairobi registry started in 2014.

The goal was to have all the records stored in a document management system (DMS). This would facilitate electronic document archival, access and retrieval in a secure, verifiable, transparent and timely manner, according to the ministry.

Since then a number of officials from the Lands office have been charged with either bribery, issuing fake title deeds or aiding and abetting fraud.

Other than the audit, the ministry intends to digitise its records to weed out double allocations of land, overlaps, among other ills that have plagued the registry, at the click of the bottom.

The ministry has always argued that digitisation is an internal administrative process which seeks to imbue a culture of efficiency, accountability and transparency in the administration and management of land.

But in moving to court, LSK said some documents which have already been assessed by the collector of stamp duty might attract penalties due to delay in payment.

The lawyers also feared for loss or misplacement of records during the audit.

The lawyers further argued that transactions where advocates or financiers have issued undertakings for performance of various obligations would be jeopardised due to the delay in completion of the transactions and the closure would also affect operations at the companies’ registry, especially where documents have to be franked before lodging them for registration.

The closure, according to LSK will also frustrate contracts where obligations or parties are tied to timelines dependent on functions of the land registries. “This will also have cost implications where certain payments to parties in transactions are pegged on certain milestones such as stamping or registration of instruments,”

LSK said.

Further, lawyers faulted the move stating that there should have been public participation before the CS published the notice in the local dailies.

And after obtaining an order asking the CS to reopen the registry at Ardhi House, LSK president Nelson Havi stormed the building after it emerged that the officials were yet to comply with the directive.

Speaking to the Business Daily on phone, Mr Havi said he went to Ardhi House because of two issuesone the matter of capital gains tax, which he said the CS was yet to comply with a court order obtained by LSK three years ago and secondly, to find out why the registry was yet to be reopened.

“We demanded the opening of the banking hall and suspension of online regulations, which has crippled services,” he said.

Mr Havi said whereas the government’s move to digitise the processes at the land registry is noble, the public and lawyers had not been appraised on the matter.

“We want to support the government in a process that will ease services to Kenyans. We therefore asked for a small meeting with officials of the ministry to allow stakeholders to evaluate and review the status so far,” he said.

Mr Havi said they want the CS to open the registry to allow critical transactions to go on, without exposing the officials to risk of contracting coronavirus, as they explore a longterm solution on the matter.

A few days later, LSK held a meeting with CS Karoney over the matter and Mr Havi said, “two communique will be issued in due course. We look forward to a harmonious working relationship between the ministry.”

The LSK president said the meeting was productive because they addressed concerns arising out of closure of the registries due to the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing digitisation.

By Business Daily


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Business

Bodaboda chama grows into a multi-million shilling housing cooperative

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A journey of a thousand many miles starts with a single step. A Nakuru-based bodaboda operator’s self-help group proved this in its growth. Driven by the ambition to have something to take home once they couldn’t ride any more, ten bodaboda operators from Barut, Nakuru West in 2015 formed Kianjahi Group, pooling a minimum savings of Sh100 per week per person.

“Being a bodaboda operator is a risky job and has serious effect on one’s health especially if you don’t dress properly for the cold. After attending a seminar in Machakos we decided to start making savings,” said Benson Sigei, the group chairperson.

The group grew as more members joined in 2016. After evaluating their progress, the members increased their weekly savings to Sh200 and eventually to Sh1,000.

“Before the year ended we were nearly 100 members. Our savings were growing and we had to come up with plans which some members considered as too ambitious and pulled out,” says Sigei. With savings of nearly Sh2 million, they bought a 1.6-acre piece of land which was previously a sand quarry.

“It cost us Sh2.1 million in buying the land and rehabilitating it to usable standards. We embarked on making savings for constructing houses which would be of similar design,” he said.

To make this possible they converted the group into Kianjahi Housing Cooperative Society Limited and introduced Sh15,100 registration fee and minimum share capital of Sh60,000 payable in Sh500 weekly instalments.

AmpThe group started the construction of two-bedroom houses in a gated community model.

“Every member now contributes a minimum of Sh1,500 for savings every week. Those yet to clear their share capital make an additional payment of Sh500. This amount does not exert great pressure on the riders since the majority make nearly KShs1,000 per day.

The group then started the construction of two-bedroom houses in a gated community model where four houses sit on every 50 by 100 feet plot. The cooperative completed the construction of the first 50 units majority of which have already been occupied.

“We took a Sh15 million loan and in addition to our savings we bought an additional acre of land at Sh2.1 million. In the first phase, we have constructed 52 housing units. 35 members have already moved in,” said the vice-chairman.

The cooperative has bought a third parcel of land on which they intend to set up houses for all members. Members who moved in during the first phase like pay Sh2,000 per month. Sh200 goes to savings and Sh1,800 going towards offsetting the cost of construction. The payment for the houses is spread over seven years.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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Health

Kenyans Woman Spikes Lover’s Drink, Transfers Sh1.7mn From His Bank Account – police

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A woman has been arrested in the Kenyan coast after spiking his drink, and stealing Sh1.7 million from his bank account.

24-year-old Beatrice Mueni Mbiu had been on the run since September 8 when the incident occurred at a night club in Nyali, Kwale County.

“She took off alongside her two accomplices but we got her,” a DCI detective told Capital FM News, “she will be charged on Monday even as we seek the other two.”

The detective said the suspect had been positively identified by the victim.

According to police, the woman first spiked the man’s drink then stole his phone which she used to transfer Sh1.7 million from his bank account.

Detectives said they relied on the club’s CCTV images and footage to identify and trace the suspect.

Drink-spiking is common in night clubs frequented by commercial sex workers in major towns including Nairobi and Mombasa where they target both locals and foreigners.

-Capitalfm.co.ke


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Lifestyle

Young African boy creates his own ‘ATM’ that dispenses new notes

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Africa is filled with amazing talents, that goes without much debates.

There have been instances where young people have demonstrated unmatchable skills like a Nigerian man who used pencils to create an amazing 3D drawing.

Young Nigerian boy creates his own ATM

The little boy knelt shyly in front of the camera as he demonstrated how his machine works. Photo: Gidi_Traffic
Source: UGC

A video of a young boy has added to the repositories of Africans whose works have found visibility online.

In the clip, the young boy showcased the contraption he made with carton boxes.

When asked what it is, the boy said it an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM).

He demonstrated how it works as new naira notes dashed out of a hole to the floor.

On one hand, he held what looked like the battery that powered the machine.

His creation became known months after yet another Nigerian kid did something similar but with a different body design that mimics the real ATM.

Meanwhile, TUKO.co.ke earlier reported how a 14-year-old Nigerian boy, named Praise Kelechi, showed off his improvisational skill of using cartons to create robots and other superhero costumes.

In an interview with BBC, the boy, while, displaying the Iron Man suit replica he made, said he was worked on it before the lockdown but had more time to perfect it as school was on a forced holiday.

He gave this piece of advice:

“I want to tell the world that no matter how rich or poor you may be, you can still be whatever you want to be and do whatever you want. It does not matter the resources available or not, you can just be who you are.”

by Tuko.co.ke


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