THE GOVERNMENT has decided to regularise the documents of properties on some lands belonging to the Animal Research Centre of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-ARI) at Frafraha in Accra, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey has announced.
“Government has decided to regularise your land documents for you. This is a welcoming news. You should begin to let people know that we’re not monstrous as we are purported to be”, the Minister stated.
He announced this at a meeting with the Residents Association in Accra.
The Regional Minister said REGSEC will submit its report to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources who will then commence the process of regularisation of documents.
The Regional Minister, on Wednesday last week, following a report from management of the CSIR on encroachment of their lands, led a team from the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) made up of personnel from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF); the Ghana Police Service (GPS); the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) among others to carry out a demolition exercise which saw houses numbering hundreds demolished.
Accompanying the team were dozens of bulldozers and caterpillars for the exercise which showed no mercy in razing down the structures illegally occupying the lands.
It is worth noting that the total acreage of the said land is 1,330, with only 200 acres fenced by the CSIR-ARI.
The land guards, according to reports, had pre-occupied the 800 acres and still went on to break into the fenced 200 acres and even taken over half of it, bringing the total acreage of land being occupied by the land guards to 900 acres.
Members of the Association during the meeting admitted that indeed they were occupying approximately 900 acres of land belonging to government, housing between 3000 and 4000 structures, but had not paid anything to the government in the form of property rates or other taxes even after staying there for about 20-30 years.
“It is not our fault. We have gone to the assemblies to pay the necessary arrangements for us to be regularised but have been unsuccessful”, they defended.
On his part, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, said the Lands Commission was mandating the encroachers to regularise the lands they have encroached on.
He, however, warned, “This should not be a gate opening for other encroachers to start encroaching on government lands”, citing Act 1036 which mandates that encroachers of government lands should be prosecuted after their properties have been demolished or destroyed.
“Let government lands be. We don’t want to have encroachers on our lands. It is important that the lands are left for future development. The 200-acre land is a no-go area”, he stressed.
The Lands Commission will move in to the 900 acres of land and take in inventory of unused lands for government use.
The Regional Minister also disclosed that the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has been mandated to carry out investigations into the sale of parts of the government lands by some CSIR staff to unsuspecting people.
The Board Chair of CSIR was instructed to cooperate with law enforcement agencies to carry out their investigations.
“This should be a lesson to all that no one has the right to sell government lands”, he stressed.
By Nii Adjei Mensahfio