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Be Visible On The Field - Lands Officers Urged   
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Chief Lands Officer Alhaji Sulemana Mahama has admonished lands officers of the Lands Commission to be more visible on the field than in the offices.

“Let people rather complain that they don’t find us in our offices,” Alhaji Mahama said.

He was leading discussions on the “Effects of Court decisions on Land Administration and the way forward” at a workshop for judges, lawyers and key stakeholders in land administration in the Volta Region.

Other topics discussed at the workshop were “procedures of land registration at the Lands Commission, the role of Land Valuation Division in efficient Land Administration and the role of Survey and Mapping Division in efficient Land Administration.”

Alhaji Mahama observed: “Our problem is that we sit in our offices waiting for the people to come to us.”

He said lands officers should rather be active on the field helping and advising people and protecting state lands.

“Sometimes we don’t protect state lands well enough,” Alhaji Mahama admonished.

He said some officials of the Lands Commission often colluded with landowners or deliberately failed to act when need be thereby helping some landowners and individuals to encroach on state lands.

Alhaji Mahama said the Lands Commission now had its own solicitors to prosecute its cases in court and other legal issues to save the state from the menace of default judgments.

He said disciplinary actions including dismissals had been meted out to some errant officials and personnel of the Lands Commission.

But Alhaji Mahama said sometimes some serious offences by some personnel of the Lands Commission went undetected.

He appealed to judges to cross-check the field land plans submitted to their courts in order for them not to be misled by parties.

Mr Gershon Kwame Tsraa, Volta Region Lands Administration Project (LAP) Coordinator, noted that key sectors such as agriculture, forestry and mining which accounted for about 70 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product are land based.

Similarly, he said: “the social and cultural organisation of the Ghanaian society as reflected in the system of property ownership, chieftaincy and lineage are inextricably linked to land”.

Mr Tsraa said challenges confronting land management such as conflicts, protracted land litigations; haphazard development, weak institutional capacity, corruption and inadequate legislative framework for dealing in land were therefore unfortunate.

He said these necessitated the Land Administration Project (LAP) which second phase sought to consolidate gains in the first phase by deepening the reforms, make land agencies more responsive to clients cutting cost and time for doing business.
Source: GNA

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