A member of the Legal Affairs of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Abraham Amaliba, has said the Lands Commission must be purged in response to the alleged cases of state land grabbing.
According to him, cleansing of the commission will help address the reported encroachment, and the sale of state lands to private developers.
In an interview on TV3 on Friday, November 24, 2023, Amaliba expressed concern over the government’s acquisition of land beyond its immediate needs, leading to portions lying fallow and becoming susceptible to encroachment.
This follows a report of the sale of the official residence of the Clerk of Parliament in 2015 and the near sale of the residence of the Speaker of Parliament at Cantonment.
Abraham Amaliba, noted that it is the responsibility of the Lands Commission to ensure that the state lands across the country are protected,
“If the government acquires land in excess of what they want, they should use the part they want and then give the rest back to their owners. Apart from that, we need to do a self introspection at the Lands Commission. I agree that sometimes the government acquires land beyond its needs and most times, when it uses the part it needs, the rest lies fallow and people encroach. But nonetheless, it is for the Lands Commission to protect those lands.
“So, if we as a people are now angry at what is happening, we need to purge that Lands Commission. That is why early on, called Abu Jinapor, to do something and speak to this country and also deal with the canker at the Lands Commission, that for me is the way to go,” he stated.
On November 24, 2023, GhanaWeb reported a case involving the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Abu Jinapor, who appeared before Parliament to address concerns regarding the sale of the official residence of a clerk of parliament.
Contrary to information in a press release issued by the Parliament Service on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, Minister Jinapor clarified that the sale of the residence occurred in 2015 during the John Dramani Mahama administration, not in 2019 as previously stated. He explained, “My checks at the Lands Commission suggest that the clerk of parliament’s accommodation or residence was sold in 2015 and not 2019.”
Jinapor further highlighted that the then Minister of Works and Housing had given an offer to a private developer in 2015, and a lease was granted that year. The developer, however, took possession in 2019 after not receiving the offer letter in 2015.
As the controversy surrounding state land grabbing continues to unfold, the call for a thorough investigation into the Lands Commission’s practices gains momentum, with implications for the proper management and protection of the nation’s valuable land resources.