Sh1 billion secret payment to NIS uncovered

NIS was paid Sh1 billion for its role in reforms launched by President Kenyatta.

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Land CS Faridah Karoney during the launch of the National Land Information Management System (NLIMS)

An audit report tabled in Parliament has uncovered a Sh1 billion payment to the National Intelligence Service (NIS) which was clouded in secrecy.

The NIS has refused to disclose details of the Sh1 billion payment from the Ministry of Land for an electronic land system that was launched in April.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu said that NIS also declined to define its role in the creation of the system (Land Information Management System) which was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

One of the roadblocks Gathungu faces in auditing the transaction is that the NIS budgetary spending is not open to public scrutiny.

Consequently, the propriety of the money transferred and whether the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning obtained value for money in the transfer of Sh 1,012,370,000 for the year ending June 30, 2020 could not be confirmed,” she said in an audit report tabled in Parliament.

Lands PS Nicholas Muraguri defended that the spy agency was involved in the LIMS due to the security nature of documents involved.

Land ownership remains a politically sensitive, socially and culturally complex issue in Kenya.

Since independence, it has been dogged by disputes over ownership, use and access.

The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission Report (TJRC, 2013) established that a close link exists between land injustices and ethnic violence in Kenya.

LIMS was launched to solve issues of and ownership by providing complete details of the parcel of land from the original owner, period of ownership, year of purchase to number of transactions to the current status of land, the revenue officials need to collect as well as the image of the land/property.

Another suspicious payment

In May, the National Assembly raised concern over the payment of Sh73 million to NIS by the Ministry of Lands.

CS Farida Karoney’s ministry had received the Sh73 million from the Ministry of ICT. MPs questioned why the payment was not made directly to NIS.

Garissa MP Aden Duale also asked for affirmation that the LIMS was tamperproof unlike other government systems which have been riddled in corruption scandals.

Yes we can guarantee the security of land documents now but we are checking what paperwork supports the ownership,” the Lands PS said.

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