Lands minister Betty Amongi has blamed the widespread land wrangles in the country on corruption in the ministry she has led for a year.
She said this is the reason the commission of inquiry chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire was set up to probe land matters.
Addressing a meeting of registrars from the ministry’s 10 zonal offices across the country recently, Ms Amongi urged the land registrars to lead the fight against corruption and develop a good working relationship with their clients to ensure the government’s drive to have Uganda in the middle income status by 2020 comes to fruition.
“Corruption has also led to poor handling and management of land records, especially in top problematic ministry zonal offices such as Wakiso, Mukono, Jinja and Bukalasa, and most of the complaints arise from record handling and management where you find land with two land titles,” she said.
President Museveni late last year appointed a commission of inquiry headed by Justice Bamugemereire to probe an array of issues pertaining to the land in Uganda.
The commission to inquire into the effectiveness of the land law and process of land acquisition, land administration, management and land registration spent much of last week in Wakiso District, reportedly the source of more than 80 per cent of all land cases in the country.
Ms Amongi urged registrars to be available to the public and serve the public so that they can stop the issue of corruption in the ministry.
“People have been complaining that to get a title you have to pay a registrar and if it’s just allegation you have to deal with it to stop bribery between the registrar and the land owners,” she added.
The registrars, however, blamed land brokers who they said solicit money from the public and then forward it to the registrars.
Ms Amongi said the ministry is now looking at coming up with measures that will prevent public works such as roads and electricity lines from stalling because of endless negotiations during compensation of land owners.
“This will stop the lot of con men who title land in an area gazzetted (for public works) and demand for money in terms of compensation,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms Dorcus Okalany, revealed that the ministry is going to cancel more than 100 land titles in the wetlands and forest reserve, especially those which were acquired before 1995.
“Cabinet took a decision to cancel land titles in wetlands and so far we have identified over 100 titles and previously we cancelled other 100 titles for Wakiso District forest reserve. We are committed to protect the ecological systems of the country,” she said.