Housing Ministry Raises Alarm On Illegal Land Acquisition

The Eastern Equatoria State Minister for Housing and Public Utilities Benaiah Benjamin Kitara. [Gurtong]

The Ministry has at the same time vowed to fight all corrupt practices being committed by certain people claiming to issue land leases to residents across the state.

An official statement released on Thursday, 30 May 2013 by the State Minister for Housing and Public Utilities Benaiah Benjamin Kitara warned the State residents, especially those residing in Torit, to remain vigilant and keep away from acquiring plots from unauthorised dealers.

He disclosed that the activities of the fraudsters have been unearthed and pledged stern action against them.

“Similar elements have emerged either through ignorance or by contempt and impunity only to inflict chaos on the land sector. It is because of this impending danger and looming threat that has prompted my warning in advance”, said Kitara.

“Some of these groups might have come up with their own strategies to issue land to the people of this state, but the overshadowing question is where is or what is the role of the Ministry of Housing and Public Utilities?” he posed.

He urged members of the public to be wary of organised groups going round claiming for some fees for land registration.

“Be careful to recognise them. Official prior notification of registration will come to you from the office of the Ministry of Housing and Public Utilities. If you choose to finance criminals who are clearly lawbreakers, then whatever amount of money you lose may not secure the land you are aspiring for”, said the Minister.

Kitara quoted sections 41, 42,43,44,45, and 46 of chapter VII of the South Sudan Land Act saying it very clear about land management and issuances, which he said is vested with the state authorities.

The Minister specified that his Ministry is empowered by the State Transitional Constitution’s Chapter Vii of section 43, to deal with land- related issues through the Ministry’s two Directorates of Land and Town Planning and Survey and Mapping as well as with the State Judiciary’s land registry.

“The Directorate of Land and Town Planning deals with land planning, land administration and management in addition to carrying out social surveys in any unplanned area in the state. The Directorate of Survey and Mapping is charged with carrying out surveys and demarcation of plots to individuals, groups and companies among others while the State Judiciary’s Department of land registry is purely charged with responsibilities of registering land titles”, the Minister clarified.

He added that his Ministry legally recognises the powers of county authorities to handle land issuances and acquisitions, specifying County land authority and Payam land councils.

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