8 February 2013

Uganda: Computerised Registry Opens

Time is up for fraudsters who have been forging and duplicating land titles from Nasser road and Nkrumah road, lands minister Daudi Migereko revealed on Friday.

Migereko said for so long fraudulent acquisition of land titles has been the in-thing on these two streets, but hastened to add that times are going to be extremely hard for "these people".

"The issue of multiple allocations of land titles will cease from now. Our friends from Nasser and Nkrumah who have been thriving on forgeries of land titles should also seek alternative means of survival because as government we are determined to make life very difficult for them," said Migereko.

He was addressing stakeholders at a breakfast seminar on land information Systems (LIS) organized by the Private Sector Foundation held at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel.

"My appeal to our Nasser road brothers is that we shall find alternative means for them to survive rather than forging papers and documents because the new titles will have high un-forgeable security features," he said.

Migereko apologized to the lawyers, bankers, surveyors, architectures, estate dealers, insurance firms and commission agents upon the closure of the land registry since December.

"I owe you an apology. It was a gross misunderstanding that the revival of the land registry would take a short time. I am aware of the revenue losses and inconvenience that you have suffered," he said.

He announced that newly constructed zonal offices will be opened on February 22 to the general public.

"The wait has been long, but necessary for better service delivery. From February 22 the zonal offices in Jinja, Mukono, Wakiso, Mbarara, Entebbe, Masaka and KCCA will be open," he said.

He revealed that the World Bank funded US$24m project was instrumental in fighting fraud that was rampant at the lands registry department. He warned land and commission agents to desist from cheating land buyers.

Gerald Sendawula, the chairman Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), said the issue of streamlining the allocation of land titles digitally would go a long way in spearheading investments in the country.

Daniel Musana, the chairman Uganda Architectures Association, however, urged the lands ministry to go a step further to involve even land management.

"Just as the titles will have high security features, the fraudsters will also design more sophisticated means of forgery. That is why need to have land management information systems in place," he said.

Richard Oput, the assistant commissioner for lands, said from February 22 all interested parties will be able to register a freehold, leasehold or mailo title online. Clients will also make title searches, register transfers of administration, mortgages as well as caveats on spot.

Loss of damaged titles will also be replaced with ease coupled with immediate change and rectification of the land register.

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