Land expert at the University of Cape Coast, Engr. Dr Ebenezer Nana Gyamera, has called on government and the Lands Commission to involve paramount chiefs in the land registration process if the country wants to see an end to problems characterising land sales, ownership and registration in the country.
He explained that continuous litigations and associated violence characterising land acquisition and registration in the country mean that existing regulations and procedures concerning land registration are porous and must be reviewed to make the process water-tight in protecting people’s property from being taken over by persons with superior financial power.
He stressed that the paramount chiefs of the various traditional areas know the areas better than officials of the Land Commission in terms of the real owners of the land as well as the boundaries and so such paramount chiefs could help ensure due diligence in transferring interest in such lands to other parties to prevent land ownership conflicts.
“The paramount chiefs are gazetted and the sub-chiefs, heads of families and even individual owners of lands pay allegiance to them and so if they are supposed to append their signature before the land is sold, then the various owners of land who would want to transfer their interest or sell off such lands will follow proper rules and not engage in double sales and acts of connivance as not only could they suffer punishments from the paramount chiefs but also their transactions could be rendered null and void by the registering authorities and no person wants to go through this humiliating act,” he stated.
Speaking in an interview with Starr News Central regional correspondent Kwaku Baah-Acheamfour, Dr. Gyamena who is the Chief Executive Officer of Gyams Engineering Company Limited which is into land acquisition and surveying, added that the endorsement of the chiefs will even be crucial in terms of lands which are without declarations thus lands whose real ownership and boundaries are in doubt making persons with financial power taking advantage of the lacunae to amass such lands.
He indicated that synergy in the work of the paramount chiefs and the land commission will address such issues as the absence of the signature of the paramount chief validating the land sale document will mean officials of Land Commission should not entertain such dubious documents to forestall potential litigations and violence.
“The Lands Commission hands are tied when it comes to undeclared lands or lands with no records of transaction or owner. They do not have records on such lands in terms of the real owners and so they end up registering such lands for any person who lays claim to it with little proof and that is dangerous as people are taking advantage to steal lands belonging to others. It is only the paramount chiefs who can help end these problems of stolen lands with no records of the transaction or that the ownership isn’t declared due to other factors like litigation among others” he stated.
He emphasised that until the paramount chiefs sign such papers indicating the true owners of the land, the Land Commission should not register such lands to prevent multiple sales and stolen lands thereby stopping potential violence that tends to characterise such sales and registration.
Engr. Dr Gyamera addressing the question of the paramount chiefs abusing or encumbering the land registration process with their involvement, he indicated that the Lands Commission could come up with modalities to regulate the activities of the chiefs in terms of the land registration using the National House of Chiefs.
“The chiefs should be paid a portion of the fees charged for the land registration and that will encourage them to be fair in their mandate. Also, those who want to flout the rules to enrich themselves, victimise others or appropriate undue lands to themselves could be penalised by law or even through the standing orders and procedures of the National House of Chiefs as that negative act could even serve as grounds for his destoolment and I don’t think the chiefs would want to risk this,” he stated.