Connect with us

General

MWATHANE: On land injustices, please mind statutory timelines

Published

on

Loading...


By IBRAHIM MWATHANE
More by this Author

I find generalised and populist discussions on Kenya’s land issue very unnerving. And when the discussion is slanted through self-serving political sieves, it makes a recipe for quick emotions and conflict. The problem is that land related conflicts could end up displacing people, destroying property, distorting the land market hence undermining our economy. So every time I hear references to the Mau Mau occasioned displacements, the 2002 Njonjo and 2004 Ndung’u along with the 2013 Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) reports, I pay close attention. Because if one wants to dwell on one, without looking at the holistic picture, analysing the respective recommendations and looking through the legal frameworks enacted to enable appropriate responses, then they can only scratch the surface. And the most abused area relates to the matter of historical land injustices. Let’s see what we have on this sensitive matter.

The Njonjo report documented the major gaps in our policy and laws, along with the institutional framework. The Ndung’u report followed, documenting available information on public land, which was regarded to have been irregularly allocated. Discussions leading up to the review of the constitution and the failed 2005 referendum also generated very useful information on our land question and possible solutions. Reports from these national processes were then incorporated in our national land policy, articulated and finalised between 2002 and 2009. This policy clearly sets out the broad land question and provides policy responses to the respective areas on land tenure and land use management systems. It also spells policy measures to respond to special issues like historical land injustices and proposes some institutional and implementation framework. To ensure the key policy principles and recommendations weren’t left to the library, they were anchored in our 2010 Constitution. Among other recommendations was the need to establish a national land commission which would, among other things, address the matter of historical land injustices.

The TJRC work commenced in 2008, and the report was handed over in 2013. By this time, a lot of Kenya’s land history and problems had been well documented and articulated through the policy process. So it was smart of the TJRC report to have recommended that historical land injustices, and any reparations applicable, be implemented by the National Land Commission, which had by then been put in place based on the 2010 constitution and the 2009 land policy. So what then after the TJRC recommendation on land injustices?

Loading...

In trying to provide frameworks to enable implementation, Parliament provided for the investigation and adjudication of claims arising out of historical land injustices by the land commission in the National Land Commission Act of 2012. The applicable section 15 was to be later amended through section 38 of the Land Laws (Amendment) Act of 2016. But do Kenyans know? Do they even know what’s expected of them under the provision and the timelines provided? I suspect very few. The pertinent section gives the land commission powers to receive, admit, investigate and make recommendations for the redress of the claims tabled in regard to historical land injustices. The section defines historical injustices and stipulates the acceptable ones, and also sets the procedures through which public notices would be given, support documents obtained, the remedy options available and the repeal mechanism.

Kenyans, particularly those who hold grievances that call for redress, need to beware that under the applicable law, a historical claim may only be admitted, registered and processed by the land commission only if it is lodged within five years from the date of commencement of the Act. Given that the law commenced in September 2016, this takes us to September 2021, unless other interventionist measures are put in place. Furthermore, the provisions of the enabling section will stand repealed in September 2026, 10 years after commencement of the Act. So those keen on filing claims should seek specific guidance from the land commission before their claims get time barred.

And, for those interested, the admissible grievances must have occurred between June 15, 1895 when we acquired the status of Protectorate and August 27, 2010 when our new constitution was promulgated. It also must have resulted from displacement from ones habitual place of residence. The claim must also not have been, or be capable of, getting addressed through the ordinary court system on the basis that it either contradicts a law that was in force at the time the injustice began or that the claim was debarred under the law on limitation of actions. One must also have owned or occupied the land in question.

From media reports, the land commission already began hearings on some of the claims from places in Central, Rift Valley and the coastal region. It is hoped the redress provided will help to maintain our peace and unity, and also the stability of our economy. Let’s refrain from generalised narratives and discussions on anticipatory historical claims but instead advise those with actionable grievances to table them within the legal mechanism.



Loading...

General

Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

Published

on

Loading...

Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
[email protected]    

Loading...

Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

Published

on

Loading...

Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

Loading...

“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

Published

on

Loading...

Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

Loading...
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Loading...
Advertisement
Loading...

Trending

Kenyan Tribune