Panic grips Giriama Ranch residents over auction notice

Residents of Giriama Ranch protesting against a possible sale of the ranch last year.The Ranch is set to be auctioned next month over after the Riva oil company defaulted on a loan the ranch had acted as security PHOTO COURTESY

Thousands of residents in Kilif county are in a panic mode after it was confirmed that Giriama ranch is set to be auctioned next month.

Following a public notice by Garam Investments Auctioneers on 23rd July 2018,  the residents are living in fear that they might lose the sixty six thousands acre land.

Earlier on the residents had raised their concerns over the same calling for intervention from county leaders.

The auction follows a default of a sh. 250 million loan dated 10 year ago from the Development Bank of Kenya where the ranch was listed as a guarantor to the Riva oil company.

The  ranch directors who include former labor Cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi used the ranch’s provisional title deed as security.

Leaders from the County are now calling  for the cancellation of the auction notice.

The leaders have also called on the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to launch a probe to unravel the people and institutions involved in the scandal.

Speaking on Tuesday in Kilifi, Kilifi North Member of Parliament Owen Baya said the use of public facilities for personal benefit is illegal.

The legislator said he and Ganze Mp Teddy Mwambire will take up the matter to the DCI for investigations.

“Giriama ranch is a public land and its unacceptable for a person or company to use it for his/her personal benefit.,” Baya told journalists.

“This ranch has been there since 1968 and no one came out to claim possession of the same. We know that River Oil Company Ltd processed a provisional tittle deed and used it to secure a loan of Kshs. 250 million which they defaulted. As a result the company has put at risk thousands of residents who now face eviction. I with my colleague Teddy Mwambire will take up the matter to the DCI on Wednesday for investigations but in the mean time I would like the notice withheld until the investigations are complete,” Baya added.

He called upon the investigating agencies to investigate the River Oil company ltd directors, the Development Bank of Kenya itself,  the land board that issued the provisional title deed amidst existence of  an original title deed and  the land registrar who authorized the board to issue the provisional title deed.

However the former labour CS Kazungu Kambi who is a director of Riva Oil Company rubbished the auction notice as fake saying it was meant to derail plans to complete sale of the ranch to  Dubai based investors Al Maktoum Holdings &Associates.

The former CS also rubbished claims that Riva Oil Company had defaulted on the loan saying that the loan amounted to sh 300 million and they had so far paid sh 100 million.

More than three thousand people could loose their ancestral land should the ranch be sold.