Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, Kanyingi got Kiambu Forest

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021 00:00 |
Cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko, addresses participants at the University of Nairobi during a climate conference attended by hundreds of environmentalists. Photo/PD/KENNA CLAUDE

Bahati MP Onesmus Kimani Ngunjiri was yesterday mentioned among key politicians, influential businessmen and companies that were illegally and irregularly allocated 106.38 hectares of the vast Kiambu Forest in Kiambu County.

Ngunjiri, a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto and a director of Agropack Limited was allocated 6.795 hectares.

Others are Bedan Mbugua Gikebe, Antony Muchiri Gikebe and Philomena Wangari Gikebe who were allocated 25 hectares through their company Wibeso Investments Limited.

The three are listed as directors owning one share each.

Details of the irregular allications were tabled by Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko during a virtual meeting with the Senate committee on Foreign Relations and Security Committee.

Conservation groups

The committee chaired by Kisumu Senator Fred Outa is investigating the murder of environmentalist Joannah Stutchbury and the claims of massive grabbing and encroachment of the forestland.

Some 13 conservation groups and human rights defenders had petitioned the Senate to probe the death alleged encroachment of the forest, had claimed Ms Stutchbury was killed by alleged grabbers of the forest land.

In their petition, the Alliance said Stutchbury’s murder was a continuation of killings of selfless environmentalists and conservations across the country.

They said the lot has been harassed, intimated, threatened and some murdered by people hell bent on grabbing forestland and reserves.

“The petitioners pray that the Senate investigate the circumstances leading to the alleged murder of Joannah Stutchbury and other environmentalists and conservationists in the country,” the petition reads.

Stutchbury, a renowned environmentalist, was shot dead outside her home in Kiambu county in July in what the petitioners say was outright murder.

She was passionate about the conversation of the Kiambu Forest Reserve.

“A gazetted forest can only be reallocated if it is degazetted and the degazettement must also be approved by Parliament,” CS Tobiko told Senators on Tuesday.

Others who have been illegally allocated huge chunks of land include Mike Maina Kamau and Nguru Muregi Wachira, through their company Pelican Engineering and Company Limited. The company was allocated 29.68 hectares of the vast forestland.

Kamau, a director, is the biggest shareholder with 100,000 shares. Former Limuru MP and businessman the late Kuria Kanyingi was allocated 15 hectares. 

The title document was issued under the Kama Agencies Limited Company, owned by Kanyingi.

“In 1999, a further illegal excision of 15.0 hectares was done and allocated to Kuria Kanyingi.

The remaining 14.5 hectares was claimed by Onesmus Kimani Ngunjiri. However, this area is forested with indigenous trees,” Tobiko said.

Kiambaa (Nyakinyua) Women Group were allocated 39.82 hectares and have already developed the land.

The CS revealed after his office conducted a search at the registrar of companies, they found Kama Agencies does not exist in the database.

Public forests

“It should be noted, however, that the areas developed within Kiambu Forest Reserve remain as public forests since they have never been degazetted and were therefore not available for alienation,” the CS said in the documents tabled before the committee.

In the all-inclusive document searched from the registrar of companies, the purported title documents issued to the purported owners and correspondences with the National Land Commission seeking repossession of the parcels.

The CS also attached copies of court documents including affidavits sworn by the claimants of the land against the government through the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). Some, of which, he said, withdrew the cases.

Tobiko disclosed that the government, through KFS, has made several efforts to protect and secure the forest reserve.

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