Jamil Mukama, the Chairperson of the Jinja City Land Board, announced on Monday that they have decided to suspend all land transactions on public land due to fraud concerns.

Mukama informed journalists that they have engaged with officials from the Ministry of Lands to halt all land transactions temporarily. This pause will allow for thorough audits to verify authenticity and rightful ownership. He highlighted that despite the absence of a functional land board for the past three years following Jinja’s elevation to city status, unknown fraudsters have conducted illegal land transactions contrary to established laws.

While their board received clearance to operate in February 2024, Mukama revealed that they have been inundated with complaints of double titling, land grabbing, and other irregularities. Suspected fraudsters have allegedly manipulated documents, including backdating them, to legitimize their ownership claims to unsuspecting land officers at the ministerial zonal land office.

To address these issues, Mukama stated that they are collaborating with both political leaders and technocrats in Jinja City to reverify land titles issued over the past three years. This initiative aims to prevent prolonged court battles between individuals whose land was wrongly titled by another party, even when they held valid leases.

Meanwhile, Alex Luganda, the Vice Chairperson of the board, reported that they have investigated 20 cases of land fraud in the past three months. Recommendations for resurveying processes to determine ownership have been made in response to these cases. Luganda disclosed that the board is currently facing 100 civil suits in various courts across Jinja City, with plaintiffs claiming their land was fraudulently titled or leased without their knowledge.

To streamline processes and prevent delays, Luganda mentioned the introduction of a land file tracking system. This system operates on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis to minimize opportunities for fraudsters to take advantage of unsuspecting victims seeking expedited services. In a separate statement, Jinja City Mayor Peter Kasolo highlighted the estimated population of 500,000 people in Jinja and the prevalence of land ownership issues. 

He emphasized the importance of seeking information from land board members rather than engaging in clandestine land transactions, especially in areas like Bugembe, Budondo, and Mafubira, which lack comprehensive land rights awareness. Kasolo urged city dwellers to be vigilant against fraudulent activities to protect their land rights.

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