General News of 2014-08-29

Rot @ Lands Commission exposed

...Corrupt Officials In Double Land Registration
...Divert Abbeyman Lands to Landline Properties Limited
It is becoming clear that the many illegalities that have been going on undercover at the Ghana Lands Commission that have brewed tensions between families and property owners, some of which have led to deaths, are being exposed by the Property Fraud Unit of the Ghana Police Service.
Indeed, some officials of the Lands Commission have been at the centre of double sale and registration of lands belonging to people and families.
These corrupt officials have developed the habit of playing tricks on the legal land owners, thereby transferring their lands to estate developers who have lots of money to offer them.
There have also been cases of massive falsification, alteration and illegal insertion of illegitimate names into the land title registry which is the sole reason for conflicts in some parts of the country in recent times.
Documents from the commission revealed that some workers of the department are aiding people to change the names of original land owners and further change ownership of the lands.
There have been similar cases of change of ownership and falsification of land documents belonging to the Abbey family of Abbeyman in the Ga West municipality.
Information gathered by this paper has it that, some unseen hands at the Lands Commission have aided Mr Kweku Kyeremanten, the Managing Director of Landline Properties Limited to take over Abbeyman lands.
However, as tension brew as regards the said property, the matter had been referred to the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to conduct investigations into the allegation of falsification and change of land ownership illegally; where it was alleged that Mr Kyeremanten and his Landline Properties Limited had obtained
Land Certificate number A 16211 covering an approximate area of 216.77 acres by fraud with the help of some officials of the Land Title Registry (Land Registration Division of the Lands Commission.)
Interestingly, the CID in its report stated clearly the fact that there had been some irregularities surrounding the registration of the land Mr Kweku Kyeremanten is laying claim to.
According to an official document from the CID, which is the result of its investigation into the matter involving the Abbeyman family heads and the Landline properties Limited, the processes through which Landline properties Limited was issued with Land Certificate number GA 16211 was fraught with some irregularities.
According to the report, statements were obtained from Jacob Ahele Buabeng, Secretary Principal Elder of Abbeyman Family Stool, Nii Djanor Okine, Head of Abbeyman family and Nii Ga Kotey II, a principal member of the Abbeyman family.
These people, according to the police CID, contended that their family owe a large track of land measuring over 2,000 acres. That the said land was registered and plotted at the Lands Commission Secretariat with registration number A/C 11222/2012.
According to the people, when the family wanted to register the land at the Land Registration Division of the Lands Commission, they found out that part of their land measuring approximately 217 acres had been registered in the name of Landline Properties Limited, a company owned by Nana Odeneho Kyeremanten without their knowledge.
Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Landline Properties Limited, Odeneho Kyeremanten was invited for questioning and to assist in the investigations. However, he indicated that his company acquired the said land from the Nii Oshiu Family of Oshuman. His claim was supported by another who claimed to be the Head of the Nii Oshiu Family.
However, the CID did a good job as they extended their investigations into the Lands Commission where it was detected that Land Certificate number GA 16211 was issued by the Chief Registrar of Lands on 23rd August 2000 but that the certificate was uplifted on 2nd March 2001, after the company had complied with the requirements and process of acquisition.
At the end of its investigations, the Police CID established that there were two different Land Certificates bearing the same number, GA 16211 which were issued by the Lands Registry on the same land.
Also, it was detected that there were differences in the dimensions stated in the indenture, the site plan, the certificate itself as well as the cadastral plan.
Although, all these illegalities were identified the Lands Commission refused to furnish the Police CID with all relevant documents provided by Landline Properties Limited, which they used in the registration of the land, for their investigations.
"Land Certificate number GA16211 was uplifted on 23rd March, 2001, but surprisingly the Cadastral plan attached to it is dated 9th June, 2009.
The explanation from the Lands Registry was that the original Cadastral plan got missing from the files.
However, the question being asked is that, "if the original got missing from their files, how did the one prepared in 2009 find its way into the certificate uplifted in 2001?"
It was also established that by a letter written by the Lands Registry signed by Joyce Atta-Gyamfi, the Land Registry was alluding to a letter from the James Town Traditional Council dated 9th July 2003 in support of the application by Landline Properties Limited. By this letter it is clear that, at least, by 9th July 2003 the registration had not been completed and impossible for Landline Properties Limited to have uplifted the Land Certificate on 23rd March 2001.
At a press conference organised by elders and members of Abbeyman family, Nana Owusu Boamah Spokesperson for the family stated that Kweku Kyeremanten claims to have acquired the land from the Oshiuman family when indeed, the Oshiuman people were settlers on the Abbey Family land, and will continue to be settlers.
He also noted that accused Kweku Kyeremanten of using police personnel from the SWAT Unit of the Ghana Police Service to intimidate allodia owners of the land.
"Mr Kweku Kyeremanten and his Landline Properties Limited have now found it convenient to establish a Container Police Post to protect their nefarious activities. This Police Post is controlled by specially selected personnel from the SWAT Unit of the Ghana Police Service, who only listen to the voice of the donor of the police post," he said.
As a result of the police presence, peasant farmers in the Ga West Municipality are being subjected to unnecessary intimidation, beatings, manhandling and illegal arrests.
Although the case is in the Court, Nana Owusu Boamah said, it had travelled for the past four years without a single hearing, hence his call on the Chief Justice to take the case from Land Court 4 and give it to a judge that can fast track proceedings.
They are also calling on the IGP to rethink when and how police posts and stations are gratuitously given by certain developers and accepted by his outfit.
Source: Mohammed saani Ibrahim
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