City lawyer and former Buganda Kingdom Minister, recipe Peter Mulira has accused officials within the Ministry of Lands for facilitating the rampant land theft.
He told the commission of inquiry into land that officials including the former Commissioner for Land Registration, website like this Sarah Kulata are persistently taking advantage of the gaps within the conversion of land ownership to fleece individuals of their land.
Mulira who was the first witness to appear before the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire investigation on Tuesday advised the committee to take interest in seizing all land files in the land registry where according to him, no rx “all the fraud begins”.
“I have never seen such theft as there is in the land office,” Mulira said.
He explained that since the prior registration of land in 1908, several changes have taken place including the shift from the Milo Register Volume (MRV) and Final Certificates (FV) land system to the block system in 1960. As a result, this ‘improper’ conversion of ownership, Mulira said many of the original land owners in Buganda have lost their land.
“The officials in land registration have discovered this lacuna and taken advantage of it. This commission should immediately take charge of land files because that’s where the fraud begins,” he said.
“Sarah Kulata must be investigated. She has been misusing her access to the land registry to get information and steal people’s land.”
He wondered why land officials charge individuals up to Ush 20 million for them to reconcile their file details.
The computerized land registration adopted by government a few years ago was devised to steal land, Mulira told the committee, claiming that wrong information is being entered in the system and sometimes deflating the acreage of people’s land.
He cited Block 189 in Mukono which initially was titled in two categories (Private individual ownership with 488 acres and Official Buganda land with 1,000 acres). However, according to Mulira, the details entered in the computerized registry reduced the acreage to 49 for the private title and 39 for the official land.
“Title deeds are issued based on the information in the now computerised system. So, what happens to the acres that are not recorded?” he asked.
Mulira told the probe committee that he is willing to volunteer names of other officials responsible for illegal acquisition of land. The committee which commenced its inquiry on Tuesday will be investigating land related matters including; effectiveness of the laws, acquisition, administration, registration and management.
This is not the first time Kulata has been named in land related graft. In its report released last year, the commission of inquiry into Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), Sarah Kulata was among those found to have caused UNRA financial losses as a result of negligence and fraudulent land acquisition processes.