The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba, has asked the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to investigate the issuance of irregular land titles by officials in her ministry.
This stems from a petition from concerned Mbarara residents regarding a special freehold land title granted to the family of the Late Veronica Munyanshunju, covering 114.6 hectares of land in Bukiro Town Council. The title has had implications for 213 families residing in four villages: Kakondo I and II, Mirambi, and Nyakayojo in Bukiro Town Council, Mbarara District.
Moses Ayebare, the Chairperson of the affected residents, points out that since the special certificate of title encompasses other titles issued earlier for plots 65, 66, 118, 208, 209, and 210, they are concerned about the impact on residents who haven’t yet obtained titles for their land. Ayebare requested the minister to establish a mechanism to help them obtain free land titles.
During her visit to Mbarara over the weekend, Nabakooba emphasized the need for an investigation into the official responsible for this matter and suggested that they should be prosecuted for irregularities. She expressed concern that such actions would erode trust and confidence in the ministry.
Nabakooba promptly ordered the cancellation of the freehold land title and the removal of caveats from other titles that had been affected. She also mentioned that the Anti-Corruption Unit would be tasked with investigating individuals with illicit intentions who are attempting to exploit the Road Compensation Fund by making fraudulent claims on non-existent land adjacent to road projects.
These individuals are suspected of collaborating with ministry officials to create land plots or obtain titles for land that they can use to claim compensation.
Sam Tayebwa, the senior registrar of titles at the Mbarara land zonal office, explained that their investigation of the land title certificate revealed numerous errors, leading to its cancellation.
Didas Tabaro, the district chairperson, criticized former leaders, including the Chief Administrative Officer Edward Kasagara, for their involvement in irregularities and suspected ulterior motives involving land.
In response, Kasagara denied these accusations, asserting that during his tenure, various land irregularities were uncovered, investigated, and officials were prosecuted.