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How Sh1.2 billion 'hidden paradise' was grabbed by private developers

Developers lose control of grabbed Sh1.2 billion Chale Island in Kwale County

An aerial view of Chale Island

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has successfully reclaimed and returned 31 acres of prime land on Chale Island, nestled in the breathtaking Kwale County.

This land, valued at Sh1.2 billion, had been illicitly seized by private developers, an act amounting to blatant land grabbing.

EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak revealed this recovery during a visit to the revered Kaya Shrines on the Island.

He shed light on the collusion involving public officials and unscrupulous private developers who masked their land-grabbing efforts under the façade of a squatter settlement scheme.


This collusion resulted in the unlawful acquisition of a significant portion of Chale Island, betraying the trust of the public.

Governor Fatuma Achani and Senator Issa Boy of Kwale joined Mbarak during this visit.

The illicitly seized land was divided into 49 parcels and deceitfully allocated to ghost squatters.

These non-existent occupants were mere pawns in a larger, corrupt game, facilitating the subsequent sale of these parcels to private developers.


The extent of this deception was unraveled by Lady Justice Addreya Dena of the Kwale Environment and Land Court on 2nd October 2023.

Her judgment nullified all transactions leading to these illegal land transfers, thereby instructing the Kwale District Land Registrar to cleanse the records of any erroneous entries.

CEO Mbarak warned against any attempts to re-grab the recovered Island.

He highlighted the pervasive issue where corrupt public officials collaborate with new grabbers to once again fraudulently re-allocate public assets that have been rightfully recovered by EACC.


The instant reclamation of the land marks a turning point, not only in the fight against corruption but also in the restoration of the cultural identity of the Kwale community.

The Kaya shrines at Chale Island, now back in the hands of the community, serve as a beacon of hope and a testament to resilience.

The Kwale community can now embark on rebuilding and preserving their rich cultural heritage, deeply intertwined with this magnificent island.

Simultaneously, the preservation of Chale Island as a marine national reserve remains a priority and will be diligently upheld by the Kenya Wildlife Service.


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