By Nancy Emily Nagujja
The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development released a press statement through an article published in The New Vision on 13th April, 2022 on massive fraud exposed at Land Registry.
The information is purported to be in the Bamugemeriere Commission of Inquiry report. Mrs. Dorcus W. Okalang the Permanent Secretary of The Ministry of Lands noted that there have been some developments since the Commission of Inquiry submitted its report to the extent that some of the issues raised were addressed by the reforms undertaken by the Ministry.
The Department of Surveys and Mapping has the authority of cadastral information in the country. The Department did provide all information that was requested for by the Commission of Inquiry. There was no other place which provided this information. When the Commission traveled abroad to look for the cadastral information, they were referred back to Survey and Mapping department which indeed provided the cadastral information.
The Survey and Mapping departments do not keep current land title records and it is incorrect to claim massive land title fraud in Entebbe, which only keeps cadastral data. The Surveys and Mapping office also provided all the spatial data that was used to handle cases mentioned in Singo, Wakiso, Kayunga and Kyangwali, among others during the inquiry. The list of requests responded to and acknowledgements for all the data provided is available in Entebbe. Mrs. Dorcus appeals to the Media to always cross check with the Ministry for updates in order to avoid making incorrect statements that have negative impact on the economy and doing business in this country.
The Ministry has indeed achieved a lot of progress through implementation of the on-going Land Reforms these include; the establishment of 22 Ministry Zonal offices (MZO) across the country as one of its efforts to decentralize Land administration and management services. The Uganda National Land Information System (UgNLIS) project has established basic LIS (Land Information System) infrastructure and transformed Land Registration and surveys and mapping from a manual to a computerized system.
Under the UgNLIS, reforms have been undertaken by enhancing the security features on the Certificates of Title to include the NIN, QR bar code, deed print and contact details of registered proprietors to curb forgery. Modern equipment has been procured to establish Continuous Operating Reference Stations (CORS) to eliminate inaccurate surveys, double titling, and titling of sensitive eco-systems (Wetlands and sensitive areas).
Links with other Government MDAs (NITA-U, NIRA UIA, URA, NBRB, URSB) have been established for data integration, management and sharing. The Ministry has linked valuation services to URA Portals which has tremendously increased revenue collection for Government. The Ministry Public Portals have been launched to ease access to searches and any other land related information. Through funding from Development Partners, the Ministry has continued to carry out systematic land adjudication and titling of land across many parishes in Uganda to increase the percentage of registered land. To address public outcry on land disputes, the Ministry established a Call Center (0800100004) where complaints are received and feedback given to the public.
There is no massive fraud as is insinuated. Those with their land titles have been able to establish the truth by conducting searches under the Land Information System. There were however incidents when Surveys and Mapping offices were raided and microfilm information forcefully taken away without following 3 formal requests and procedures by the Commission. Up to date these vital cadastral records which belong to the Department have never returned. “I re-assure the public and country at large that many changes to guard against the purported fraud were introduced long time. The Ministry has also maintained a proper electronic Cadastral database which includes the scanned maps to the extent that they cannot be tampered with,” Mrs. Dorcus said.