The Minister of State for Lands, Mr. Sam Mayanja, closed the Wakiso District Land Office, accusing staff of massive fraud.
“I have received several complaints about this office. Today, I am making a political and administrative decision to close these offices until Monday,” Mayanja said on Wednesday.
The minister who first toured the offices in the morning said that although the government has put in place a computerized system to eliminate fraud, the land offices in Wakiso have chosen to ignore it for reasons unknown.
“The government has invested a lot of money in this system but because some people here still want to profit from corruption, they have not used it. We cannot allow this to continue,” Mayanja added.
The minister sacked all staff and ordered Grace Kagoro who heads the ministry’s computerization process to deliver a report on planned reforms in the office by Friday.
“We will call you by 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,” Mayanja said.
The minister also ordered the arrest of a man identified only as Isma for posing as State House anti-corruption unit staff at land offices.
Ms. Justine Mababzi, DRC from Wakiso, told this reporter that they contacted State House who denied knowing him.
The head of the Wakiso land office, Mr. Jude Wasswa, attributed the “rot” in his office to workers who were allegedly 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 are clearly telling you that you are not in control since they were appointed by powerful people,” he said.
Martha Komugisha, the registrar, who has held the post for a month, had asked the minister not to close the office on the grounds that operations had improved in recent times.
“We had a bad reputation but we got better,” said Ms Komugisha, former secretary of the Kampala Land Board.
This isn’t the first time the office has been closed and staff suspended for suspected fraud.
In an attempt to stem corruption, Mr Mayanja told his staff at last week’s meeting that he was advised to go and fire everyone at the Wakiso land office, which has gained the reputation. to be the epicenter of land fraud.
In 2018, following a public outcry, security agents from the State House anti-corruption unit raided the land registry in the country’s busiest Wakiso district and gathered surveyors, land agents and brokers. The team led by Colonel Edith Nakalema seized the electronic gadgets of land officers and their clients who came to process land titles.