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26.08.2004 Crime & Punishment

Land courts to be set up

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Accra, Aug. 26, GNA - The Government would assist the Judiciary to set up Land Courts to deal with the numerous land cases pending in the law courts, Professor Dominic Fobih Lands and Forestry Minister, said on Thursday.

He said the Government would continue to support the various land related institutions to undertake their constitutional mandate to check the activities of land guards which posed a threat to security of investments as well as the development of the land market.

Prof Fobih was speaking at the annual seminar of the Land Surveying Division of the Ghana Institution of Surveyors held in Accra to take stock of their activities. It was under the theme: " Good Governance, Wealth Creation and the Land Surveyor".

Prof Fobih said to enhance good governance, sound land use and infrastructure planning at the district levels, large-scale maps of Accra and Kumasi would soon be published and made available to the public adding that district capitals would also be covered in due course.

The measures, he said, would boost the confidence of investors to carry out their businesses in the country.

On the activities of Land Surveyors, Prof Fobih, said the issue of taking inventory of state-acquired lands, outlined in the Land Administration Project (LAP) presented them with numerous opportunities that could promote their profession.

He asked them to collaborate with other professionals to work diligently to ensure that the Project was successful.

Prof Fobih tasked the Institution to come up with recommendations that would help resolve issues such as compulsory land acquisitions, payment of huge outstanding compensation and boundary demarcation for stool and skin lands that had bedevilled the country and had so far defied solution.

Government in October 2003 launched the LAP, which among other objectives is aimed at developing a sustainable land administration system that is fair, efficient, decentralized, cost effective and capable of enhancing land tenure security in Ghana.

LAP would also provide, among other things, technical assistance to traditional authorities and local government to ensure accountability and transparency in customary land management.

Nii Adote Obuor II, Acting President of the Ga Traditional Council, suggested that government should use some of the monies accrued from lands acquired from the Chiefs and Elders of the Ga Traditional Area to reduce poverty in Accra.

"The stool and Ga people should continue to benefit from their lands," he said.

Nii Obuor stressed need to check the behaviour of some persons, who claimed to have contacts and, therefore, simply refused to play by the rules.

He expressed concern about the services these persons enjoy from Land Surveyors, who were entrusted with the administration of stool lands adding that banning of land guards would significantly curtail the indiscipline that has characterised the sale and administration of land. Nii Obuor said Ghana embarked on a democratic system of government which allowed everyone to enjoy certain freedoms that required the tolerance of one another's view on political affiliations, religious beliefs, customary practices, ethnic extractions and petty idiosyncrasies without which good governance would be virtually impossible to achieve and sustain.

He told the Surveyors that for wealth creation to be wholesome and sustainable it should be free of from the distorting medium of personal desire, greed and dishonesty.

Nii Obuor said: "In this respect, anyone among you here who assist a land guard in his illegal activities will betray the efforts of government. Whoever of you here who connives with an illegal vendor of lands entrusted to your care makes a hollow mockery of the principles of democracy which we have embarked upon."

He exhorted them to dedicate themselves to carrying out their duties with honesty, diligence and dedication to generate wealth to improve the living standards of the people.

Mr Jonathan Abossey, Chairman of the Land Survey Division, said urged Surveyors to contribute to the development of the economy through hard work and dedication to duty, adding that they should not only manage their offices but also assist their clients to generate wealth.

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