28-04-2021 by redazione
The process of digitisation of Kenyan bureaucracy, which has already affected various sectors (as far as foreigners are concerned, especially immigration, with online visas, and labour and taxes, with permits and contributions passing through portals without intermediaries), has now come to revolutionise the system of ownership of land and real estate.
The Ministry of Land launched yesterday in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chief of Staff Farida Karoney, the new digital system that aims to zero in on the fraud and corruption that has characterised most land transactions in the past.
The 'Title Deed' will no longer be a document whose registration remains an unknown process or tied to antiquated systems that have always lent themselves to duplication, forgery or processes of reproduction of missing documents, with associated obstacle courses that only served to produce profits for less than honest officials, resulting in biblical waiting times.
This is at least the government's intention, even if, as can be seen from the inconsistencies demonstrated by the digitalisation of the work and residence permit system, Kenyan corruption always finds a way to make money out of it, at the very least by acting out of exhaustion.
The fact is that once in operation, the new Title Deed filing system will mean that the Ministry's headquarters, located in Ardhi House in Nairobi, will no longer accept paper cadastral documents, as manual transactions will be eliminated and the cadastral registers will close their doors to the public.
"Now we are abandoning the old system and starting a new adventure. For more than 50 years, many Kenyans have suffered because of land issues. Many have bought land that did not exist or that had already been sold to other people, changed titles and handed over to others," said President Kenyatta - We may have some cases of ownership whose details will be missing in the digital system but I ask everyone to contact the ministry to resolve the outstanding issues".
The digital system is aimed not only at reducing the time of property registrations and protecting investors and property owners from bogus transactions, but also at defeating tax evasion by those legitimate owners who if they want to be legitimate, will see their titles directly linked with services outside the Ministry such as The Kenya Revenue Authority, the National Lands Commission and any land institutions involved in the deal.
Industry experts are convinced that when the digital system is fully operational, no one will be able to escape paying taxes and licences. This will drastically reduce corruption cases related to the decentralisation of competences.
But it will also protect the rightful owners from attempts to expropriate on the basis of alleged documents not stored online. It will therefore no longer be possible to seek recourse against divisions or boundaries if this is not substantiated by the official, digitally filed maps.
In this way, the Ministry explains, there will be no more cases of double ownership of land.
In fact, directly from the online registration site, it will be possible to obtain transfers of ownership, deeds, valuation requests, payments and issuance of certificates of sale or liquidation.
Registration fees, stamp duties, security obligations, caveats and restrictions can also be managed digitally. A special section will be dedicated to searches and registrations of old titles.
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by Freddie del Curatolo