COOK ISLANDS FINDS 40% INACCURACY IN LAND RECORDS

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The public has lost confidence in the system

By Charles Pitt RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (The Cook Islands Herald, Dec. 30, 2010) – In Cook Islands, a review of the Ministry of Justice’s computerized land records has revealed an alarming statistic and that is some 4 out of 10 applications have been incorrectly recorded making the computer record only about 60 per cent accurate.

The review found two major problems have caused the inaccuracies. They are an error in linkages which omits important data and human error.

The review was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and funded by the Public Sector Technical Assistance fund. The review was carried by Lynnsay Rongokea and her report was submitted to the Secretary for Justice Mark Short in December.

Computer records of land titles were introduced early in 2000. Information held on hard copy court records (minute books and the original register of Titles was transferred to computer. Much of the work was carried out over a period of three years by inexperienced people and there were a large number of errors made. Their work was never monitored or checked. There was also a lack of resources to ensure proper training, management and administration. As a result the public lost confidence in the system.

As a result of the review, urgent action is needed to correct the computer records. This has been acknowledged as a major task and the next phase of the exercise is to work out what needs to be done.

An indication of the size of the problem is seen in that the computer record is 620 pages long with over 3,400 entries. Over 2,000 errors were found.

An indication of the enormity of the task is that between three and twelve computer print outs are required just to correct the errors in each section.

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