A Public key infrastructure based model for verification of title deeds in Kenya
Kariuki, Fanon Kimani
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The Kenya lands administration process faces many challenges arising from the use of a paper based system. Over the years, this system has come under scrutiny because of inconsistencies, irregularities and the bulk of physical records that when tampered with undermine the integrity of records kept. This problem makes it difficult to quickly and accurately verify the validity of any given title deed and has also caused an influx of counterfeit title deeds which throws ownership of land into dispute. In order to verify the authenticity of a title deed, one has to fill out forms and pay a fee at the lands offices, and then go through a slow and inefficient process due to the voluminous records associated with the current paper based system. Despite digitization efforts in 2014 aimed at streamlining service provision, title deed verification still remains a critical challenge. Financial institutions are therefore reluctant to issue loans with land as collateral because it is a slow and often inaccurate process to ascertain true ownership of land, and this may lead to loss of potential customers. Based on the challenges of identifying true land ownership by authenticating title deeds, this study will adopt the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) model which incorporates the use of a trusted third party (Certification Authority) to create digital certificates. The Nairobi Lands registry will act as the Certification Authority in this study, within which there will also be a registration function (Registration Authority or RA) and a key generator to generate a public-private key pair. The RA will confirm title land owners' details, and the CA will issue digitally signed certificates, which will be used by financial institutions to compare to physical title deeds for discrepancies, and thus authenticate them. The PKI model's ability to provide digital certificate validation, time stamping, data confidentiality and authenticity makes it a suitable choice to eliminate the authentication related challenges experienced currently. This study aims to develop a prototype using a waterfall software development model to validate the proposed title deed verification solution. The prototype will be tested to validate its accuracy and efficiency in authenticating sample title deeds.