Commerce

Brokers escalate land grabbing, fraud in Thika

Friday, January 10th, 2020 23:12 |
Susan Wakonyo cries out for help after her house was demolished. Photo/PD/ MATHEW NDUNG’U

Property owners in Kisii estate in Makongeni area in the outskirts of Thika town are living in fear following the proliferation of land brokers who have been linked to increased cases of land grabbing and fraud.

Last week, hundreds of families were left homeless after a group of hired goons demolished their houses over a simmering land tussle connected to widespread land fraud.

Officials at Ministry of Lands, Thika registry were accused of conniving with fraudsters and retired politicians to rob Kenyans of land worth huge sums of money. 

The racketeers reportedly include  police and government officials in administration, land brokers and some staff at Lands registries who forge land documents used to defraud unsuspecting Kenyans.

Forged documents 

The criminals are reported to have been forging land ownership documents such as title deeds, identity cards and signature of the land registrar who signed the last entry of the genuine proprietor.

They target plot sale agreements, land transfer documents, green card and share certificates where the property was acquired through a land-buying company. 

The fraudsters also falsify wills, letters of administration of the estate, and letters of allotment.

Angry residents at a demolished house in Kisii estate in  Thika town, Kiambu county.  PD/ MATHEW NDUNG’U 

The vice is so well executed that unsuspecting buyers realise only later that they were conned by a confident impostor armed with fake documents.

This has resulted to endless in fights among land buying companies operating in the area who claim ownership of certain parcels of land. 

Families whose houses were attacked last week were forced to spend nights in the cold after the hired goons, armed with crude weapons invaded their houses and started demolishing them at around 11pm. 

Occupants of the affected homes were forced to scamper for safety, giving the attackers opportunity to demolish the houses. 

The attackers, who neither had court orders nor notices, using mattocks and other crude weapons managed to demolish perimeter walls, windows and doors of several homes.

They commenced their mission by vandalising electricity connections. Susan Wakonyo, a food vendor who owns of one of the demolished houses said that the attackers had plotted to execute her and her children only for them to engage the goons in running battles. 

 “I have struggled all the way to settle my children here. I cannot imagine that my house was demolished when we have a working government. I have not even completed repaying my loan,” a crying Wakonyo told journalists.

John Kimani, an elder said controversy had been growing since they bought the land years ago. 

Despite several complains at Makongeni Police Station and area Director of Criminal Investigation offices, no action was taken.

John Mwangi, the area MP’s personal assistant  asked the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning to initiate a land clinic in the area to clean up the land mess that has seen people lose lives, property destroyed and many left homeless. 

“Transactions should be halted  a until all the land issues in the area are addressed to avoid losing their money in the hands of conmen,” he said. 

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