Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Parliament Rejects ‘Redundant’ Land Bill

The Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has rejected the Constitution (amendment) BILL,2017 aka Land Bill that seeks to allow government compulsorily takeover private land before compensation.

The  bill  seeks to amend Article 26 of the Constitution to enable Government  or a local authority to deposit with Court, compensation awarded by the Government for  any property declared for compulsory acquisition to empower Government or local government to take possession of the declared property upon depositing the compensation awarded for the property with court, pending determination by court of the disputed compensation awarded to the property owner or person having an interest in or right over property to access the deposited compensation awarded at any time during the resolution process and to empower Parliament to prescribe , by law, the time within which disputes arising out of compensation shall be resolved.

However, the Committee chaired by Oboth Jacob Markson in its report says the bill is redundant.

“The provisions of content of the bill are redundant since there are similar legal measures in the Land Acquisitions Act that the Government or Local government may utilize to remedy the mischief they intend to remedy by the proposed amendment,” the report obtained by Business Focus reads in part.

It add: “It is important to note that intention of the Bill is to enable Government or a local authority to deposit with Court, compensation awarded by the Government  for any property declared for compulsory acquisition as well as to empower Government or local Government  to take possession of the declared property upon depositing the compensation awarded for the property with court, pending determination by court of the disputed compensation awarded to the property owner or person having an interest in or right over property.

The Land acquisitions Act, the applicable law as far as land acquisitions are concerned already contains a mechanism to achieve a remedy in a situation where  a person or property owner objects s to an award. This remedy is contained in section 6 (5) …”

It concludes: “The Bill does not introduce anything new warranting an amendment to the Constitution. In case there is need to prescribe the matters contained in the Bill, these can be inserted in the Land Acquisitions Act since they are more suited there.

In light of the above, the Committee recommends that the bill be rejected since and is not read the second time. Therefore,  save for the power to access funds deposited with court and requiring Parliament to prescribe the time within which any dispute referred to court may be determined,  the Bill doesn’t introduce anything new requiring the amendment of Article 26.”

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