Buliisa village chairpersons warned against extorting money from land sales

A cassava garden at Ngwedo Village in Ngwedo Sub-county, Buliisa District.(Image: Samuel Baguma/Kazi-njema News)

Buliisa District Village Chairpersons are in the spotlight of reportedly extorting money from people involved in land transactions, according to the Buliisa Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

Mr Ismail Musa Onzu said his office is awash with public outcry from the community and non-government organisations complaining that they pay lots of money as 10 per cent to Local Council (LC) 1 chairpersons for land transactions.

He said it is illicit for chairpersons to charge fees from land transacted in their areas of jurisdiction informing them that they should instead be witnesses during the transactions.

Closing a two-day training workshop for local leaders and technocrats on local revenue enhancement, the CAO warned that LC1 chairpersons will face legal action if they do not stop the vice.

Audio: Onzu on land money (English)

Mr Onzu said it is incumbent upon the land vendor to either give some money to the chairpersons as a token of appreciation or not instead of being forced to do so.

Audio: Onzu on token (English)

Mr Moses Busiinge, the Buliisa District Local Government Finance Committee Chairman, told community members not to pay the charge referred to as 10 per cent demanded by LC chairpersons to act as witnesses.

Audio: Businge on land money (Lugungu)

The acting Executive Director for Kakindo Women Integrated Development Association (KAWIDA), Mr Macris Mugume, organisers of the workshop urged people to always pay tax saying meeting the obligation means increasing revenue collection for better social-economic services.

Mr Aloysius Kitengo, from SEATINI Uganda one of the organisers of the workshop said Oxfam International – the workshop funders, said the latter launched the three-year project targeting Buliisa and Tororo districts with the aim of improving tax collection for better service delivery.

He said Buliisa was selected for the project due to its endowment of oil and gas resource that will generate much income to both the government and local people while Tororo has abundant mineral deposits and industries and its proximity to busy border posts which have the potential to generate significant revenue to the district.

Mr Kitengo said the workshop aimed to achieve tangible results, fair mobilisation of local revenue, establishment of effective accountability mechanisms and promotion of gender-responsive service delivery.

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