At the end of March, the Daily Monitor reported that the government had intervened in the Bukalasa Zonal Land Office fraud. Officials were given a one-month ultimatum to issue out all pending titles to rightful owners as investigations into alleged corruption at the office continued.
During an interaction with the locals, Lands Minister Betty Kamya, who had learnt from leaders of Nakaseke, Nakasongola, and Luwero about the rampant fraud at the area lands office, ordered that the land titles allegedly duplicated be nullified and the original owners repossess the land.
“The government’s intention of establishing zonal offices and recruiting more staff was to ensure that our people access services quickly,” The Daily Monitor quoted Kamya in the meeting.
She echoed the government’s commitment to revisit the operations of about 23 Lands Zonal offices set up to ease the resolution of land-related disputes.
“The petitions and conflicts from the land offices in Wakiso and Luweero districts are overwhelming. These are now the most problematic land offices. We are trying to establish the source of the problems,” Kamya told the Daily Monitor.
The leaders from the three districts mentioned above narrated their shocking ordeal to the Daily Monitor on the land fraud, which included extortion by the officials, issuing duplicate titles for the same land, and delayed release of titles.
Ms. Goreti Mukagatare, a district Councillor at Nakaseke, told Daily Monitor that the three districts should adopt a uniform rate for land services to curb extortion.
In one case, the Lands Office issued duplicate titles on Block 473, Plots 7, 10. Yokana Katura was the first registered owner. Richard Butangi was issued a duplicate title. Butangi then attempted to claim the land he had bought, according to Mr. Sulait Matovu, a resident of the particular land.
“After intervention from the Nakaseke Resident District Commissioner, the man with the duplicate title told us we are supposed to pay for the land because he had spent money processing the title,” Mr. Matovu told Daily Monitor.
Even after Butangi realised that he had been conned in the land deal, he continuously dodged calls to lift the caveat, demanding that the residents first pay the money he spent buying the land and processing the title.
Another land under probe reported by Daily Monitor is owned by 74-year-old Teopista Nansubuga, who complained that three acres had been carved off her 10-acre piece of land and titles issued. She is a resident of Kiwoko Town Council.
“The original title that we have is under the name of Bulasiyo Kiwanuka, my late husband. However, we discovered that sub-titles were processed on the same land without my notice. The land is on Block 405, Plot 35,” Ms. Nansubuga said during the meeting, according to the Daily Monitor.
The one-month deadline is now looming for Bukalasa Zonal Land Office officials to issue all pending titles to rightful owners as investigations continue.