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General News Fri, 14 Oct 2016

Expedite land bill - MPs to Attorney General

Members of Parliament have urged the Attorney General’s Department to expedite work on the Land Bill, which seeks to address land-related disputes in the country.

The Land Bill, which is a consolidated form of all bills dealing with the land sector, makes provision for gender empowerment, which means that land acquired by one’s spouse in the course of marriage will be deemed to belong to both parties.

On the floor of the house on Thursday October 13, the MPs, who were contributing to the report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the performance audit report of the Auditor General on Phase One of the Land Administration project, also appealed to the judiciary to speed up the backlog of land cases in the country.

A member of the PAC, Adwoa Safo, speaking to Class News’ parliamentary correspondent, Ekow Annan, said land acquisition and its management would be simpler should the bill be passed into law.

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“Land administration is a big issue here in Ghana. Whether you purchase land, whether you are able to process all the documentation relating to that land, is a big issue. So what this project is seeking to do is to make sure that the processes involved in land administration are made simpler…and all that, but the report captured by the Auditor General when we met didn’t show much of that,” she stated.

“There is supposed to be a Land Bill and that is codifying all the land laws and making sure it comes under one law. Anybody who wants to know the land law of Ghana can just go in there. As we speak now, that bill is being still drafted by the Attorney General. That is what we were told at the committee level and that was what was captured in the Auditor General’s report, and you know as Members of Parliament and the systems that we operate, bills must come from the Attorney General, it must emanate from the executive, so if she is still drafting for all this while and land administration is a big issue in this country, I think she should speed up the process. Then it goes to cabinet, then it comes here (parliament).”

The Dome Kwabenya MP disclosed that the Auditor General’s report captured that there was a backlog of about 35,000 land cases stuck in courts spanning over 30 years.

“You and I know there are people in Ghana who have built on lands and they have not been able to process their documents and we are used to situations where you are building and someone goes to court, takes an injunction, and says, ‘It’s for me.’ If we need this country to progress and for the economy to grow, land administration is at the core…” she noted.

Source: classfmonline.com
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