The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) wants the Ministry of Lands to immediately stop plans of online land registration, failure to which it will go to court. LSK maintains that the law requires only advocates to prepare conveyancing instruments, in a move aimed at protecting and promoting the integrity of the land registry system as well as safeguarding and guaranteeing the sanctity of titles.
In a letter to the Ministry of Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney, LSK president Allen W. Gichuhi says Section 45 of the Land Registration Act No.3 of 2012 mandatorily requires signatures of parties to instruments of conveyancing to be verified and certified in accordance to with the provisions of the act.
Formal verification and certification are core requirements in conveyancing which are critical to reduce the risk of identity fraud and fraudulent property transactions. Verification of identity also ensures that the correct person is dealing with the interest in land….. The law and practice in Kenya and elsewhere is that this exercise is conducted by advocates or the land registrar – the LSK President in a letter seen by the standard.
According to the LSK president, a quick look at the notice with regard to the proposed online processing of land transactions discloses the absence of verification and certification exercise.
You will notice that clause (2) of the notice erroneously suggests that spousal consents, and county consents can be obtained online. This is fallacious and undermines the legal basis giving rise to the requirement of these consents. These consents are obtained after due process and in the case of spousal consents are accompanied by certificates and affidavits certifying the authenticity and veracity of the persons giving consents.
On 4th April 2018, Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Lands issued a notice in one of the local dailies, in connection with the online processing of land transactions.