Land Information Management System (LIMS) to minimize land-related corruption, LAGA
Civil Society Organizations in Malawi say the implementation of the Land Information Management System (LIMS) will aid in the elimination of land-related corruption in the country.
MALAWI: Civil Society Organizations in Malawi say the implementation of the Land Information Management System (LIMS) will aid in the elimination of land-related corruption in the administration and management of land in the country.
On Wednesday, April 11, 2022, during the 'Government Faces the Press session,' Minister of Lands Sam Kawale announced that the government, through his ministry, will roll out a digitized Land Information Management System in order to deal with dubious land deals and to ensure equitable land distribution to all Malawians.
“The system will do away with missing files thereby making land processes smooth and efficiency; for example, Customary Land Act requires people to register their land parcels and be issued a certificate which authenticates ownership,” Kawale said.
According to the Land Governance Alliance (LAGA), Malawi has relied for years on "paper-based" land records such as basic survey documents, sketches, and maps, a system that is not only difficult to access and maintain but also vulnerable to abuse and corruption.
According to the organization's Interim Executive Director, Emmanuel Mlaka, land records stores at head office are so full of paper-based files that if you have a land-related complaint, it could take months to find your record, and sometimes it won't be found at all.
“To do such a tedious job of searching your file, the registry staff would request for a financial motivation, therefore creating a big loophole for land-related corruption,” Mlaka said.
Mlaka went on to say that it has long been speculated by civil society organizations that the ministry has not prioritized digitalization for fear of jeopardizing the benefits of land-related corruption.
He added that various types of information, such as property maps and sale deeds, are maintained by various departments, the majority of whose personnel lack adequate digital access training.
“The record-keeping challenge has resulted in litigations, scams, and property disputes over land ownership,” Mlaka said.
Mlaka went on to say that the Land Information Management System, in addition to providing a single point of contact for land records, such as map maintenance and updating, surveying, and property registration, will also provide clarity over ownership status and ease the implementation of business plans by making it easier for developers and buyers to check the authenticity of the land or property.
Meanwhile, Mlaka has called on the Ministry of Lands to speed up the staging of the LIMS, claiming that other Acts such as Customary Land and private land registration will be easier with the digital platform rather than the current manual status.
On March 8, 2022, some civil society organizations known as the Land Justice Consortium issued a statement urging members of parliament to consider tabling, amending and passing the Land Bill in order to ensure that it benefits the poor and disadvantaged Malawians.
In addition, the statement demanded that the government, through the Ministry of Lands, implement a Land Information Management System in order to ensure transparency and management of land-related complaints.