Surveyors on the spot for abetting Sh30b land fraud

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[Source: The Standard, by Mwangi Muiruri]

Kenya’s economy loses an estimated Sh30 billion annually due to land fraud facilitated by corrupt and quack surveyors, Lands Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri has said.

The amount includes what the government loses inland rates, expenses in costly court cases and investment opportunities lost when the disputed land lies idle. Dr Muraguri said the figure reflects “one of the many from the economy hence denying the country the much-needed capital to improve quality of lives for its subjects”.

To mitigate this loss, he said the Lands ministry has commenced an elaborate move to digitise survey details in a way that will be easy to track all those who will attempt to execute fraudulent survey works.

“We are awake to the reality that we must equip and operationalise our new Geospatial Data Centre at the Survey of Kenya (SoK) headquarters in Nairobi,” the PS told Home & Away.

“That is the only way we can be sure that we are up to the task of cleaning and reorganising our survey records.”

“This will go hand in hand with cleaning the register of survey practitioners to beat the habit where every Tom, Dick and Harry are putting up survey shops and kiosks across the country,” he said.

Muraguri said the move will not only sound the death knell for land crooks, “but will also help the government maximise tax revenues by managing registration and rate billings”.

He blamed many developers in the country for applying shortcuts in procuring survey services with a clear intent to corrupt the process.

Outgoing Director of Surveys Cesare Mbaria said the surveyors’ profession should do all it takes to hound out quacks masquerading as authorities in surveying.

“The ministry had in 2014 issued a circular through the Land Surveyors Board warning all of our registered surveyors that they play true to the professional ethics. We must safeguard the reputation of the survey profession,” he said.

Mr Mbaria said the trick many surveyors use to progress fraud in the sector was submitting incomplete supporting documents such as letters of allotment and development plans, leading to delays in correspondence with licensed surveyors and other relevant departments.

[Full article: The Standard, by Mwangi Muiruri]


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