Corrupt land officials put on notice

August 14, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 14 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga ordered an overhaul at the Lands Ministry Thursday, saying it was inefficient and among the most corrupt government departments.

After touring the offices at Ardhi House, Odinga put land officers on notice but observed that the ministry required computerisation to handle land searches, registration and transfers in order to promote transparency.

“I am horrified by the mess that prevails in the registry. The most crucial documents are strewn about. How could such an abysmal situation have been allowed to stay uncorrected for so long? This is a guaranteed recipe for inefficiency, for lost files and endless unsuccessful searches for documents – and for toll taking!” said the Prime Minister (PM).

He further urged the ministry to consider installing a computerised Land Management Information System to record real estate as well as provide updated information on land.

Odinga said that investors had lost property due to incompetence by the officials whom he accused of massive corruption.

“Corruption cartels must be flattened. In the long run, new clerks will be posted who are diligent and honest. The Minister (James Orengo, in charge of Lands) has told me that there are some very diligent officers at Ardhi House,” he said.

The Prime Minister further criticised high prices for prime real estate, saying it was discouraging investors who could have used the land for development purposes.

He said land should be made available and affordable for investors who want to contribute to the development of the country.

As short term measures, Odinga directed Orengo to set up a Customer Care desk and a Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit to coordinate functions within the ministry to ease long land processes in the ministry. He also said a tax collection system should be considered.

He advised the ministry to appeal for more funding from the government saying it was allocated only Sh2.3 billion out of the Sh5.2 billion it had requested for.

Orengo said the ministry would require about Sh1 billion to start the overhaul process.



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