Illegal tenants occupying government houses put on notice

Thousands of tenants illegally occupying government staff quarters in Nakuru have 21 days to vacate or be evicted at the expiry of the notice.

The County Commissioner (CC), Joshua Nkanatha has also directed occupants of over 500 State owned housing units to demolish unauthorized extensions or any other structure whatsoever erected within their compounds.

Addressing departmental heads when he chaired the County Service Delivery Committee meeting, the administrator said he would undertake random door-to-door visits in Molo, Njoro, Nakuru, Gilgil and Naivasha sub counties as part of an audit of people occupying State owned units meant for civil servants.

These units have been illegally occupied for periods ranging from a few days and months, to even years, even after the transfer, retirement or dismissal of those who were legitimately allotted the houses. We even have situations where houses previously allocated to now deceased public servants are occupied by strangers, observed the administrator.

His move comes barely two weeks after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) moved to court in a bid to recover 24 government houses valued at Sh.420 million and land in Nakuru Town.

The anti-graft agency has filed five suits at the Environment and Lands Court sitting in Nakuru to recover the land and houses located within the Central Business District saying they were illegally acquired.

Nkanatha claimed that despite acute shortage of housing for public servants, some of the civil servants had connived to be allocated more than one unit while scores of others had rented out the houses to non-civil servants after they were transferred.

This, he said, has contributed to a high number of ‘strangers’ living in government staff quarters.

On expiry of the notice, we will be tracking illegitimate occupiers and evicting them. It is our duty to repossess government houses in wrong hands. We want to create a situation where all deserving public servants reside in government quarters. We would not want strangers to live in staff quarters, noted the CC.

The administrator said he was aware that some unscrupulous elements were working out schemes to illegally acquire the units, while others were holding onto the houses anticipating a disposal by the government.

Those holding the houses for speculative purposes should drop the hope that they will be given priority once the government disposes off the units. As a matter of fact, the government is very keen on providing more housing units for public servants. There will be no sale of any unit, he affirmed.

The EACC has obtained court orders to restrain nine people and three companies from taking over the property which it says belongs to the Ministry of Housing.

The defendants are hereby barred from alienating, selling, transferring, charging, developing, leasing, sub-dividing or dealing with any of the properties pending hearing and determination of the suits in court, read part of the court order dated July 31.

The EACC filed the suits before Justice DalmasOhungo on July 24. Individuals sued include, former Lands Commissioner, Wilson Gachanja while companies comprise Pembeni Ltd and Liberty Assurance Company Ltd.

Justice Ohungo certified the matter as urgent and directed that the application be served to each party before it is heard.

It is hereby ordered that an inhibition be registered against the properties pending further orders by the court, ruled Justice Ohungo. The court further ordered that the matter be heard on October 4 and 5.

Nkanatha said according to the rules, in event of transfer, retirement or dismissal from service, a State employee has to vacate staff quarters within a clearly specified period.

The CC also indicated that the State would also evict any public servant found to have either illegally transferred or sublet the quarters.

It is illegal to irregularly transfer, trade in, assign and sublet any government housing unit. Any transfers done are un-procedural, null and void. Such transfers will be revoked, houses repossessed and re-allocated to other deserving civil servants, he asserted.

Source: Kenya News Agency