What you need to know:
- Instituted in 2013, at the behest of President Museveni, the national land information centre now aids in the quick handling of huge volumes of land searches, title transfers and documentation since most of the files have been moved from the manual form into a computerized system called the Uganda National Land Information System (UGNLIS).
In a bid to stem corruption in the lands sector, state minister of Lands, Mr Sam Mayanja, has said that the government is planning to eliminate all brokers that carry out transactions in land registry offices across the country.
Mr Mayanja revealed the development on Thursday, when he visited the National Land Information Center in Kampala, together with a delegation from the Uganda Law Society (ULS) led by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Moses Okwalinga.
“Land registries are mainly used by lawyers and a day about 20 lawyers can use a land registry office across the country but you find brokers outside every land registry office doing a transaction and this leads to corruption. We are going to stop brokers from entering land registries,” Mr Mayanja said
In 2018, following a public outcry, security operatives from the State House Anti-Corruption Unit raided Wakiso District land registry, the busiest in the country, and rounded up surveyors, land officials and brokers.
The team led by the Unit leader Col Edith Nakalema seized all electronic gadgets from land officers and their clients who had come to process their land titles.
Instituted in 2013, at the behest of President Museveni, the national land information centre now aids in the quick handling of huge volumes of land searches, title transfers and documentation since most of the files have been moved from the manual form into a computerized system called the Uganda National Land Information System (UGNLIS).
The system, Mr Mayanja said, is still a work in progress but though Uganda is already reaping from it.
“We have redistributed our presence countrywide with 22 operating ministry zonal offices with each one of them being a full representative of the ministry headquarters here in Kampala,” Mr Mayanja said adding that this is intended to extend services closer the people.
Mr Grace Kagoro, the Project Coordinator of Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project Land Component at the Land Information Center said that ever since the system was put in place it has contributed $ 200m to the national treasury.
“We have been able to quickly turn this into a money-making venture for the government. Although the revenues go down during election time because people go into other things but as soon as elections are complete people continue doing land transactions,” Mr Kagoro said.
The minister also echoed a similar analysis: “The UGNLIS has enabled us to block all possible seepages of revenue to government accruing from land transaction fees by ensuring that it is mandatory to provide evidence that the payable fees have been paid and this payment verified by URA because our system and that of URA talk to each other,” he said.
Since the system is integrated with that of the National Identification & Registration Authority (NIRA) Mr Kagoro said that it has helped them eliminate the possibility of non- Ugandans buying land.
“We used to have such tendencies where people could turn up here with forged National Identity Cards but now we just ask NIRA people to verify and that is sorted,” he said.
Mr Peter Mulira, a veteran lawyer and a prominent landowner said that though the computerized system has managed to stem corruption and forgeries, it still has loose ends that need to be tightened.
“The land office Masaka and Mukono has a lot of corruption. I think the system has no proper audit system to know who does what transaction so some people can use other people’s computers to do transactions. That is why you can still find a title owned by two people,” Mr Mulira said.