The Law Society of Kenya have requested the ministry of land to suspend the online processing of land transactions. The ministry initiated online transfer of land on 4th of April.
Our learned friends, the Law Society of Kenya(LSK) in a letter addressed to the CS Ministry of Land Faridah Karoney, have indirectly expressed their worry of losing out on legal fees charged by advocates when buying or selling a piece of land. To buy a piece of land in Kenya, offline, the buyer will pay a legal fee of 1.5% to his/her chosen advocate. For example, an individual buying a Ksh 10m piece of land will pay the lawyer a total of Kshs 100,000. Now imagine how much a lawyer will earn if he conveys 10 land deals at the end of each month, now you can see where their rebellion is coming from-good money gone. Through digitization of land transactions, a major revenue opportunity is gone.
In their letter LSK declares illegal, the newly launched online land transacting website using the argument that; to protect & promote the land registry integrity and to safeguard the sanctity of tittle, only advocates can prepare conveyance instruments. LSK argues that its safer both to the buyer/seller and the land registry,to convey land through an advocate because advocates have a practicing certificate which acts like a reference point to the public.
The Law Society of Kenya also argues that the Ministry of Land through the cabinet secretary is not yet in the right position to issue forms of title including leases, title deeds, grants and certificates of title without the consulting the National Land Commission since, the Land Forms and Regulations that would accommodate that are still being reviewed by parliament. Like we can all see what our learned friends want- the old offline way where they get a tip every time a plot is bought or sold.
LSK also wants, after the passing of the Land Forms and Regulations by parliament, to be involved in setting up of a legal platform for electric conveyancing. LSK feels that through their involvement, the ministry of land will the best practice from its advocates who have experience with the registry system.
Finally, LSK expresses the wary of the new clause (iii) of the notice issued by the ministry on 4th April 2018 that suggests that spousal consents, land control board consents and county consents can be obtained online. LSK argues that this will undermine the legal basis as Formal verification and certification reduce the risk of identity fraud and fraudulent property transactions.
LSK has threatened to move to court if ;
- the Ministry of Land doesn’t suspend illegal online transfer exercise and refer back to the offline regime.
- online processing of consents that require physical presence or third-party agreements is not stopped.
- The ministry doesn’t remove the reference to the online transfer mentioned in the Ken Investment website.