Freeze on Land Transfer

The process of transferring government lands which have been reallocated by the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to private developers has been suspended with immediate effect.

Letters to that effect, signed on behalf of the Chief of Staff by the Chief Director at the Office of the President, Mr L. B. Tusoe, have been dispatched to the relevant agencies which deal with government lands.

The heads of the relevant agencies which have been served with copies of the letter include the Chief Registrar, Land Title Registry; the Executive Secretary, Land Valuation Board; the Director of Surveys, the Survey Department; the Director, the Geological Survey Department; the Executive Director, the Wildlife Division, and the Director of Mines.

The letter, with reference number SCRJA.26/38, said any violation of the directive would attract severe sanctions.

The Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Alhaji H. I. Baryeh, confirmed to the Daily Graphic that the commission had received a copy of the letter and explained that by the directive, issuance of allocations and execution of leases relating to specific government land holdings had been’ frozen.

He said some of the lands, strategic, were at Cantonments, Ridge and Roman Ridge, all in Accra.

He said the directive also applied to strategic government lands in all the regions!

The directive followed revelations at the sittings of the Government Transitional Team on the transfer of executive assets during which it was realised that some government lands, as well as houses, some of which were under construction, had been allocated to former ministers of state and other private individuals.

The letter to the relevant state agencies indicated that the transfer of public lands to private individuals defeated the purpose for which those properties were acquired in the first place.

It said on the part of the lands, they were government lands which were not meant to be shared among ministers of state and other individuals.

It said all the allocations would be reviewed after a new board for the Lands Commission had been put in place.

Other government sources explained that currently there was no Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing to re-examine and review the allocation of such lands.

It said the allocation of most of those lands, particularly those in Accra, had generated a lot of controversy, with the original owners calling for the lands to be returned to them.

Source: Daily Graphic (12/2/09)