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Home >> World
UPDATED: 07:51, June 07, 2006
Ugandan gov't cracks down land title forgeries
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The Ugandan government has impounded 122 fake land tittles, in a bid to curb forgery of land titles in the country, an official said on Tuesday.

Dennis Obbo, a ministry of water, lands and environment official told Xinhua that the ministry impounded 122 forged land titles and the culprits will be prosecuted.

The crackdown came after reports that there were over 8,000 fake land title deeds in circulation in Kampala alone.

Obbo said part of the ministry's role in titling is to verify owners before transactions can be effected.

"If a forged title is identified, the clients who present it are arrested and handed over to the Police Criminal Investigations Department for further investigation," said Obbo.

He said the 122 fake titles were traced through searching the land register and collaboration with local councils.

The ministry advised the public to always verify the genuineness of land titles and sellers before entering into any transaction or agreement.

Recently, the outgoing Minister of Lands, Water and Environment Kahinda Otafire ordered for an inquiry into the massive forgery of land titles in the Land Registry.

Otafire ordered the probe days after a real estate company based in Wakiso district, north of Kampala, wrote to him, complaining about a copy of their white page (land title), which is a certificate showing proof of ownership of land, disappeared from the ministry's registry.

Copies of the original land titles are kept in a strong room but apparently, well-organized syndicates of fraudsters seem to have gained access to the room.

The white page had earlier been recovered following Otafire's intervention but it later went missing.

There is concern that most of landowners may be in possession of fake land titles after someone tampered with the genuine documents.

Obbo said the ministry would soon have computerized land registries, renovate and construct district land offices, carry out an inventory of government land, rehabilitate the Survey Training School and review land laws.

He said this would be done through the implementation of a World Bank Project, whose preparatory activities based on research and studies done in the past 10 years, have been completed.

Source: Xinhua

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