Puzzle deepens over no-man’s KICC land

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021 00:00 | By
KICC Chief Executive Nana Gecaga before the Public Investments Committee in Nairobi yesterday. Photo/PD/Gerald Ithana

The land on which the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) building stands, is classified as un-allocated public land with no legal owners.

A parliamentary committee yesterday heard that the land is not owned by any entity and efforts by the KICC management to own it have been futile, due to numerous court cases filed by individuals claiming ownership.

Appearing before the Public Investment Committee (PIC), KICC Chief Executive Officer Nana Gecaga said the management had reached a deadlock and could not register the title deeds of the said piece of land.

Legal redress

“We have tried everything we can including seeking legal redress to no success. We have reached a deadlock,” Gecaga told the committee which is chaired by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir.

 Auditor General Nancy Gathungu in her report says that the parcel is not owned by the State corporation that manages the building.

Gathungu says the title deed for the 28-storey building is not registered in the name of KICC, which is a State Corporation under the Tourism ministry.

While Gecaga said that the title deed had been registered under the National Treasury in trust for the Ministry of Tourism, the National Lands Commission (NLC), the former ruling party Kanu and a Mr Amstrong Kasuku are claiming the land’s ownership.

Gecaga said Kasuku has since moved to court claiming ownership of the land where the Garden Square restaurant stands; he owns the restaurant.

Kasuku says that he was allocated the piece of land by former President Daniel Moi in the early 90s.

The High Court ordered a stay and directed that the rent be deposited with the court pending the determination of the suit.

On its part, the NLC says that the property is public land and hence under its jurisdiction-a matter that has since been taken to court.

Ruaraka MP T. J Kajwang sought to know on what grounds Kanu was claiming ownership since there was no documentation to prove the same.

“It is strange that the former ruling party is claiming ownership of the land but are not giving anything as prove,” Kajwang said.

Gecaga said the management welcomed the assistance offered by Parliament to have the matter resolved and have the ownership of the land in question given to the rightful owners. 

According to the auditor, the identity of the entity in whose name the title deed of the land is registered has not been revealed in the public auditor’s report for 2018/19.The land is valued at Sh2.29 billion.

The protracted dispute for the KICC land has been on for many years after Kanu exited power.

Kanu was kicked out of KICC in 2013 through what then Tourism and Information Minister Raphael Tuju termed an Executive Order.

The political party has maintained KICC in its list the property -as one of its assets in documents filed with the Registrar of Political Parties.

The auditor says that in the documents filed with the Registrar of the Political Partie, the land is registered under the name of Peter Oloo Aringo who was once Kanu Secretary General.

Commissioned 54 years ago, KICC has grown to be Africa’s premier destination for conferences and tourism exhibitions.

The conference centre was turned into a parastatal under the Ministry of Tourism and refurbished using money from the Treasury.

National monument

It hosts several government offices, including those of Senators. And in fresh revelations, Gathungu says that the State Corporation managing KICC had not included in its financial statements the parking area as part of its land.

The courtyard on which Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta’s monument stands is also missing in KICC books, deepening the land ownership mystery.

“Further, the land on which Garden Square Restaurant stands is in dispute between KICC and the County Government of Nairobi,” she says.

The auditor says that despite a letter from the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua to the Lands Cabinet Secretary clarifying that the land in dispute had since been gazetted as a national monument and a part of KICC, the management had not acquired a title deed.

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