Judge Ogutu Mboya of the Milimani Environment and Land Court has advised Kenyans to conduct historical land searches before purchasing land.
Speaking during an interview on Spice FM on Thursday, the judge expressed that verification of documents from the seller was not enough to avoid future land tussles.
He explained that historical searches can help one ascertain who the seller got the land from and how they got the land.
Further, he stated that a buyer can also seek information from the Land Survey offices to establish how the land has been subdivided and passed down over the years.
Judge Ogutu Mboya of the Milimani Environment and Land Court appearing for an interview before the Judicial Service Commission on July 19, 2019.
Judiciary of Kenya
“There is yet another concept that has come forth and it is very critical. It is not enough to do due diligence, you must undertake historical interrogation and investigation of the land to know how someone got the land and where they got it from.
“This will take you away from the land registration section and dispatch you to the directorate of the survey to discern the survey maps,” he stated.
Judge Mboya underpinned that historical searches were important given the rising cases of double titling.
He cited that there could be instances where a particular land has two separate files in land registries. Notably, most buyers only get files for the person selling the land.
“Just the other day, we had demolitions on land which was said to belong to Portland cement and there are Kenyans who say that they bought the land and got titles.
“So if they got titles, where did they get it from? They got it from some government office. So where is the security of the land tenure? How effective is the system? How effective will due diligence be?” he explained.
Equally, he also opined that sellers of land must also carry due diligence during the transactions to avoid complications.
In recent years, Kenyans have lost millions after being duped over land that is claimed by two or more different parties.
On the other hand, some of these cases take years in the Court before the actual owner of the land is identified.
The Milimani Law Courts building which hosts the High Court
Office of the Registrar High Court