Issuing duplicate land titles will incur harsh penalties: Vientiane authorities

Vientiane authorities have warned that officials who knowingly issue duplicate land titles will face strong disciplinary action, with land disputes continuing to persist.
Violators will be charged with producing fake documents under Article 364 of the Criminal Law, Director of the Vientiane Natural Resource and Environment Department, Mr Bountham Phoutthavongsa, told the Vientiane People’s Council recently.
Officials found to be involved with or guilty of any wrongdoing or implicated in a land dispute will be disciplined, the director said.  
The department will work with district offices to review the performance of officials in charge of issuing land titles and make transfers if needed.
The move is part of measures the department will undertake to regulate land amid ongoing disputes.
Disputes concerning land ownership are a chronic problem in provinces across the country and the government has announced it will take action to resolve the matter.

A senior Vientiane official said there are several reasons why duplicate land titles are issued. An outdated system makes it difficult to monitor the process; officials and individuals conspire in the matter for personal gain; and individuals produce fake documents when making a claim for a land title to be issued.
Mr Bountham said his department would work closely with the sectors involved including banks, the courts and prosecutors, and devise a system to monitor the problem.

The department will accelerate work to modernise land management which will also ensure that land titles are issued correctly and legally.
The director promised to streamline and expedite the process and to better facilitate and serve the public when it comes to issuing land titles.
“In particular, we will accelerate efforts to fulfil the policy [of the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment] to establish a land service centre to simplify the transfer of land,” he told the Vientiane People’s Council.

In addition, the department will improve services at its one-stop service to better facilitate land service affairs.
The department plans to seek approval from higher authorities to start an urgent service system that would speed up the land transfer process and other affairs in urgent cases. However, details of this plan remain unclear. 

Vientiane authorities hope the planned improvement of the sector will enable the department to finish issuing land titles for all of the approximately 300,000 land plots in the capital by 2025. More than 200,000 land titles have been issued so far.

Source: Vientiane Times

Souksakhone Vaenkeo