NIRA on the spot over national ID scam

Evidence. The forged National ID bearing the names of Akena P’Ojok, the land owner, and the photo of the suspect, Shaban Hassan. COURTESY pHOTO

What you need to know:

Fraud. Details show that one Shaban Hassan obtained a national ID in the name of Akena P’Ojok, which he used in an attempt to transfer the latter’s piece of land.

The National Identification and Regulation Authority (NIRA) is in the spotlight after a police investigation revealed that a man impersonated another and obtained a National Identity Card (ID), which he used to sell off the latter’s piece of land.
Details of a police investigation into the Shs260m land fraud case indicate that Shaban Hassan allegedly obtained a national ID in the name of Akena P’Ojok, which he used in an attempt to transfer the latter's piece of land located in Buye, Kampala. Mr P’Ojok is abroad and was unaware that his land was being transferred illegally.
Hassan’s alleged land fraud was detected when land officials found out the title had been forged.
Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said the suspect was arrested and presented in court on charges of uttering false documents contrary to Section 351of the Penal Code Act.
“The suspect, Shaban Hassan, is on remand as investigations continue into how he uttered false documents. I don’t have much details of the case right now,” Mr Owoyesigyire said yesterday.
According to police documents, Hassan and Samuel Kitumba were contacted by people, who are yet to be identified, to help them apply for a certificate for the land in question and they were to act as Akena P’Ojok. However, when they were asked for identification, the suspects told Kitumba to register for a new ID in the name of Akena P’Ojok but they later changed the plan since he was younger than the victim and NIRA would detect it easily.
Kitumba had worked on the paper work with NIRA at the time the plan aborted. Instead, Hassan was used and he obtained a national ID in P’Ojok’s name.
A police source said the NIRA officials should have detected the double entry since the suspect had earlier acquired a national ID in the name of Shaban Hassan. The source said the suspect used the same fingerprints and image on the first national ID card while acquiring the second national ID card in the name of Mr P’Ojok.
In January, the suspect is said to have forged a land title in the name of P’Ojok and obtained a Shs40m loan from a money lender.
In July, he allegedly got another land buyer for the same land, who was pay Shs260m. The new buyer was to pay off the suspect’s loan he had with the money lender and interest that had reached Shs106m.
The suspect handed over his newly acquired national ID in the name of P’Ojok to enable the new buyer to do a search in the land’s office.
The new buyer did a land search in Kampala land office where he found out that the title was forged and he reported to police. The detectives arrested Hassan and Kitumba.
Detectives found out that Mr P’Ojok lives in the United Kingdom and he told them that he had never sold or given powers of attorney to anyone to transfer his land.
Detectives are still investigating how NIRA was able to issue a second national ID illegally and who did it.
“Both national ID cards in possession of the suspects appear in the system to be genuine,” a senior investigator said.
The NIRA spokesperson, Mr Gilbert Kadiro, yesterday said he could not comment on the matter since he was out in the field and did not have specifics of the case.
Charge. The suspect was presented in court on charges of uttering false documents.