By John Masaba
In a bid to stem the rampart fraud in the lands ministry, government has decided to adopt uniforms for its staff in the ministry of lands.
New Vision has also learnt that a proposal is in the offing to accredit all agents who interface with clients on behalf of the ministry.
The land ministry spokesperson, Denis Obo, said that introducing the uniforms would help redeem the image of the ministry that has been tainted over the years due to several land scandals linked to ministry staff.
“We want to restore integrity in the ministry and clean the institution of the perception that our staffs are corrupt,” he said.
According to the ministry, top staff will wear white uniforms while middle staff like the clerks, secretaries will wear corporate cream shirts and blouses. And the lower support staff brown uniforms.
Lands ministry permanent secretary, Gabindadde Musoke, said each shirt will be emblazoned with the staff’s name and number to make it easier for the public to distinguish them from non-staff when they visit the land office.
Minister for Water and Environment, Ephraim Kamuntu(C ) with the new Uganda National Forestry Authority Board Members (Left-right) David Ebong, Michael Mugisa, Dr. Maggie Kigozi, Gershom Onyongo (Chairman)and Langoya Council Dickson after the inauguration. PHOTO/ Enock Kakande
“We have notified our staff about the changes. Some don’t like it but we have to do it. We have been having a problem where these people posing as our staff waylay people and divert them from our offices to rob them,” he said.
Musoke said the new changes are expected to kick off in October.
Other government agencies that wear uniform include the Police, army and prisons. Others are nurses, doctors in government facilities and Uganda Revenue Authority.
The Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA) chairperson, Nicholas Arinaitwe, welcomed the move but said the ministry ought to go beyond just introducing uniforms for its staff.
“Kicking fraud out to of the ministry requires a holistic approach. Uniforms will solve half the problem,” he said.
He added: “We know a number of people whose names have been linked with land related scandals. But despite reporting these people, the ministry has not blacklisted them and they continue to make transactions in land office.”
Arinaitwe said that all people involved in land transaction business should be registered as this will help in tracking them and monitoring their activities to stem fraud.
“That is how Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) fixed the clearing and forwarding industry where fraud was very high,” he added.
He said the registration will not only help weed out fake dealers in the real estate business but it will also help trace and track people who are not paying taxes.
He said a huge number of people were making a lot of money from sales but are not paying taxes which has resulted into the burden being borne by a handful of registered real estate dealers.
Lands ministry introduces uniforms to fight fraud