Kenya lacks titles for 13 properties abroad

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau

Kenya has no title documents for 13 of its foreign properties spread across the world, a parliamentary team has said in a report.

Macharia Kamau, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, agreed with former Auditor-General Edward Ouko that the government does not have original title documents for properties owned by Kenya in nine countries. Mr Kamau told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that government-owned properties in seven other countries were documented in foreign languages.

Other four properties were registered in third parties’ names,” Ambassador Kamau told the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.

The disputed properties, either without title, registered in foreign languages or in the hands of third parties are in Bujumbura (Burundi), Juba (South Sudan), Islamabad (Pakistan), Beijing (China) and Riyadh (Saudi Arabia).

Others are in London (Britain), Rome (Italy), Khartoum (Sudan), Stockholm (Sweden), Paris (Frances), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Kampala (Uganda), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Hague (Netherlands), Tokyo (Japan) and New York (USA). “The government of the republic of China does not issue title deeds since land belongs to government,” PAC said in a report on the audited financial statements for the year 2016/17.

The committee said the Ministry did not have an asset register according to the requirements of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act of 2015.

“The committee observed that the ministry was in the process of preparing the Assets register and the matter remains unresolved,” Mr Wandayi said in a report adopted by Parliament. Parliament directed Ambassador Kamau to ensure that a complete fixed asset register is maintained pursuant to Regulation 143(1) of the Public Finance Management (PFM) (National Government) Regulations 2015. “Further, the register should be availed to the Auditor-General at the time of audit if requested,” Mr Wandayi ordered.

The committee said the government of Kenya does not own any property in Geneva and that this financial year the government embarked on purchasing a chancery and it’s hoped in the subsequent financial years the residence for the permanent representative and deputy will be procured.

“The committee observed that Geneva is a complex and a truly multilateral station with diverse but interrelated nature of United Nations agencies, programmes International Organisations dealing with a wide spectrum of issues ranging from economic and trade matters, to peace and security, disarmament, human rights labour, humanitarian affairs and sustainable development among others,” Mr Wandayi said.

The committee observed that since Geneva is the third most expensive city in the world after San Fransico and Zurich and given the permanency of Kenya presence in Geneva through the Mission, it would be prudent for the government to consider procuring and owning property in order to reduce the recurrent expenditure.

“The committee observed that since the establishment of the Mission in Geneva in 1985, the government has spent Sh2, billion for rent to date.“The committee observed that the government of Kenya owns five properties in New York, a Chancery, Ambassador’s Residence and three residential houses,” PAC said.

The MPs said it would save the government a lot of money spent on recurrent expenditure inform of rentals and lease charges if it owned property in our Missions abroad.

Source: Daily Nation