Two people who had been given a contract by the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning to digitize records at the National Lands Commission have been arrested over the loss of crucial computer hardware.
Humphrey Wairori Wanyonyi and Pius Mutune are in custody and will be charged for the offences on Monday. Detectives submitted a miscellaneous application to have them detained for three more days to allow them complete their investigations.
The two clerks were arrested on Thursday by detectives attached to the Special Services Unit (SSU). During the arrest, detectives recovered computers and a variety of computer components that had been stolen from the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning Headquarters in Nairobi.
The two clerks led the detectives to Wanyonyi’s house where they recovered six CPUs, ten hard drives, three motherboards, three power supplies, three DVD drives, nine new sticky notes, four used masking tapes and one HP laptop together with its charger.
The two were arrested following reports of increased fraud at the Lands offices even as the government seeks to digitize land records in efforts to curb fraud.
The government embarked on a digitization drive at the commission with plans to computerize all land records including mutations. It also plans to enhance transparency in the maintenance records system, digitize maps and survey, update all settlement records and minimize the scope of lands disputes.
The government hopes that by enhancing transparency in its Lands records, they can appeal to the public and restore trust. Lack of access to land information is attributed to high rates of corruption in the ministry which relies on manual record keeping.
The government also embarked on an exercise to issue title deeds as it seeks to eradicate manipulation of public records that has seen many people acquire title deeds illegally.