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26.08.2005 Crime & Punishment

Land Commission starts the prosecution of encroachers

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Kumasi, Aug 26, GNA - The Lands Commission has started prosecuting people who have encroached on government lands in the Ashanti Region as a means of halting the practice.

Mr Kwame Agyapong Boafo, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Lands Commission, said encroachment on government lands was one of the biggest problems facing the Commission.

Speaking at a one-day workshop on Land Administration organised by the Lands Commission in Kumasi on Thursday, he named the Kumasi Metropolitan area and the Kwabre District as two areas where the situation was very serious.

He blamed chiefs for this state of affairs and said some chiefs do not care whether compensation had been paid on the land or not and go ahead to sell it.

Mr Boafo said lands belonging to some second cycle institutions in Kumasi had been encroached upon and that a chief even has his house right on a school's land.

The workshop was aimed at identifying problems associated with land administration, understand the problems and brainstorm for solutions. University professors, chiefs, the judiciary, lawyers, law enforcement agencies, research institutions and non-governmental organisations attended the workshop.

He expressed regret that the assemblies were shirking their responsibilities by not demolishing unauthorised structures and those on encroached lands and told them to have the courage to apply the law that empowered them to demolish such structures. Mr Boafo said the excuses and alibis of the assemblies were too many and that they would have to be alive to their responsibilities. ''Blames in all cases have been heaped on politicians when in actual fact civil servants are to blame for their inaction.''

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