The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) now wants Parliament to investigate Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney over what it calls mismanagement in land administration.
In a petition to the National Assembly, LSK President Allen Gichuhi says that attempts to have Ms Karoney address the “underneath chronic” problems at the lands registry have fallen on deaf ears.
“Despite all efforts and constant engagement by LSK and other stakeholders, there seems to be unwillingness on the part of the Cabinet Secretary to work towards efficient and effective land administration in the country,” Mr Gichuhi said, noting that it could be a harbinger for disorder if the situation continues.
Land registries are central to land administration in Kenya and are created and administered by the Cabinet secretary in line with the Land Registration Act.
The petition states that there are many cases of wrong stamp duty values and missing records, among other shortcomings.
EXECUTION OF LEASES
Mr Gichuhi also noted that advocates are experiencing challenges accessing registrars, resulting in inefficient and slow resolution of issues.
In other cases, registrars require the production of court proceedings in order to recognise court orders, leading to delays in some transactions.
“There is a lot of disorderliness in most of the registries as there is no unified service delivery charter and constant breakdown of machines,” the petition states.
The petition claims that despite the annulment of the Land Registration (Electronic Land Transactions) Regulations, 2019, there has been continued unlawful implementation of the Land Information Management System (LIMS) by the ministry without the proper statutory backing.
The execution of leases and licences by junior land registrars against the Land Act is also being questioned.
“The CS has failed to exercise her mandate and a land registrar has been issuing leases and licences on behalf of both County and National Governments without proper delegation of power as required by law,” Mr Gichuhi said.
Though the Land Regulations have existed for about two years, the petition claims that their implementation has been delayed.
“The land registries have continued to operate under the repealed registration system and registers, perpetuating an environment where land frauds have become endemic and the credibility of the land registration system is at an all-time low.”
The petition further notes that the lack of proper land administration has led to the inefficient and irregular collection of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
In order to facilitate implementation of CGT exemption, KRA introduced a new procedure where all property transfer transactions declared as exempt from CGT on the KRA iTax portal must go through a verification and approval process.
The process involves manual submission of supporting documents in respect of the CGT exemption application at the relevant KRA stations and different levels of approval by KRA officers.
This procedure, according to LSK, has led to delays in transactions as the required supporting documentation is overly bureaucratic and subject to the discretion of KRA officers.