The minister of state for lands, Mr Sam Mayanja has closed Wakiso District lands office accusing staff of massive fraud.
“I have received several complaints about this office. Today I’m taking a political and an administrative decision to close these offices until Monday,” Mr Mayanja said Wednesday.
The minister who first made a tour around the offices in the morning said that although government introduced a computerized system to eliminate fraud, the Wakiso land offices have chosen to ignore it for unknown reasons.
“Government has invested a lot of money in this system but because some people here still want to benefit from corruption, they have not used it. We can’t allow this to go on,” Mr Mayanja added.
The Minister sent away all the staff and ordered Grace Kagoro who heads the computerization process in the Ministry to file to him a report on the planned reforms in the office by Friday.
“We shall be calling you via email or phone if we think we need your services. I will be back on Monday to reopen these offices but with clear reforms in place,” Mr Mayanja said.
The minister also ordered for the arrest of a man only identified as Isma for impersonating State House Anti-Corruption Unit staff at the land offices.
Ms Justine Mababzi , the Wakiso RDC, told this reporter that they contacted State House which denied knowing him.
The head of Wakiso lands office, Mr Jude Wasswa, attributed the “rot” in his office to workers who are reportedly sent by what he described as “the powers that be.”
“Most of the workers here don’t want to listen. They don’t want to change and they tell you clearly you don’t have control since they were appointed by powerful people,” he said.
Martha Komugisha, the registrar of titles, who has been in this position for a month, had asked the minister not to close the office on grounds that operation had improved of late.
“We have had a bad reputation but we have been improving,” Ms Komugisha a former secretary of Kampala Land Board said.
This is not the first time the office is being closed and staff suspended over alleged fraud.
In a bid to stem corruption, Mr Mayanja told his staff in last week’s meeting that he had been advised to go and sack everyone at the Wakiso lands office, which has gained a reputation for being the epicentre of land fraud.
In 2018, following a public outcry, security operatives from 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 Col Edith Nakalema seized electronic gadgets from land officers and their clients who had come to process land titles.