‘Conflicting claims of land makes it difficult for paying compensations’

By Lydia
Kukua Asamoah, GNA

Accra, Sept. 18, GNA – The Lands Commission
says government is having difficulty in paying compensation on some
compulsorily acquired lands, especially within Accra, due to conflicting claims
by owners of the lands.

“The difficulty we face is that some of the
acquisitions have been done and government wants to pay the compensations but
the problem we have is the conflicting claims that the owners of the land
themselves make.

“And so it makes it very difficult to discern
as to whom should be paid the compensation,” Mr Suleman Mahama, the Executive
Secretary of Lands Commission, said.

Addressing the media on the sidelines of a
recent working tour in Accra by officials of the Ministry of Lands and Natural
Resources, led by Mr Kwaku Asuma Cheremeh, the Sector Minister, Mr Mahama said
the situation had led to huge sums of compensation debts owed by the
Government.  

He said where it was certain and the
compensation sum was known, and the acquiring agency was appropriately
notified, government makes provisions for it in the budget.

Mr Mahama said in a sample survey done in
Accra alone, it came out that in one particular location, which involved about
100 acres of land, compensations were running into billions of cedis.

He said the 1992 Constitution states that
compensation should be fair, adequate and prompt, which the courts have
interpreted it to mean government paid the current value in compensation to the
affected people.

He said the Commission was set to map out the
entire country to enable proper management and administration of lands.

Currently, about 27,000 kilometres of the
country had been mapped out of the 238,000 square kilometres.

Mr Mahama said the mapping exercise would be
funded with 35 million dollars sourced through the efforts of the Vice
President as parts government’s process of getting most government business
done electronically.

He said the Ghana Enterprise Information
System (GELIS), which involves digitising and automating the land
administration process, would be expanded to cover the entire country instead
of the initial piloting in Accra and a few other areas.  

Mr Mahama said at the end of the Land
Administration Projects (LAP 2) in February, this year, it was realised that
some vital tools needed to expedite the processes of land documentation were
missing, hence the introduction of the GELIS by government.

However, under the LAP, the Commission brought
together the customary authorities and gave them a better understanding of
their land administration mechanisms and established about 87 customary
secretariats throughout the country.

“We have some very good examples like the
Gbawe-Kwatei Family in Accra and the Asantehene’s Lands Secretariat,” Mr Mahama
said.

“In a day, the Accra office alone gets 15
documents on police enquiries on land, between 30 and 50 enquiries on other
searches from the ministries and departments, and about 200 to 300 enquiries on
ordinary searches on property that the general public are interested in, all
compiling the workload on the staff.

GNA 

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