The government has announced plans to conduct an audit of land titles in the Coast region, citing concerns over absentee landlords and foreigners holding freehold titles. Lands Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome emphasized the government’s commitment to resolving complex land ownership issues prevalent in the region.

Wahome acknowledged the abundance of freehold land parcels in the Coast region, with many yet to undergo adjudication. She expressed concern over foreigners holding freehold titles, noting that such ownership contravenes Article 65 of the constitution, which permits non-citizens to hold leasehold titles for a maximum of 99 years.

During a visit to the Mombasa Land Registry, which serves the Coast region, Wahome reminded Land Registrars and Officers of the constitutional provisions regarding land ownership. She emphasized that freehold titles are exclusively reserved for Kenyan citizens and vowed to take disciplinary action against officers involved in irregular issuance of such titles.

The Lands CS urged the judiciary to consider land records in their judgments, even when the Ministry of Land is not directly involved in a case. She stressed the importance of joining the Ministry in land disputes to ensure accurate records are presented to the court.

Wahome announced plans to expunge all forged documents from the Ministry of Land records, cautioning Kenyans to exercise vigilance and consult land offices before purchasing land to avoid falling victim to fraudsters. She also advised banks to conduct due diligence on land titles to prevent fraud.

Highlighting the need for digitization, Wahome revealed that 12.6 million titles across the country need to be entered into the National Land Information Management System (NLIMS). She emphasized the government’s intention to recover unoccupied land and ensure efficient land use.

The Lands CS reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to digitizing all 49,000 land titles at the Mombasa registry, aiming to enhance efficiency and integrity in land administration. Wahome assured that the digitization process would commence promptly to address challenges such as lost files and missing records.

With a focus on providing real-time efficient service, the Ministry aims to complete the digitization process within three months, enabling improved access to land records and safeguarding property rights for all citizens.