Five-Member Committee to investigate shady sale of State lands

Accra, The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, on Friday, inaugurated a Five-Member Committee to investigate the wanton sale of State and Public lands between 2013 and 2016 without recourse to the head office of the Lands Commission.

The Committee, which is chaired by Dr Opoku Adusie, the Deputy Director of the Ghana Standards Authority, is required to submit its report to the Chairman of the National Lands Commission in two weeks.

Mr Benito Owusu Bio, a Deputy Minister of the Ministry, during the inauguration of the Committee, tasked them to investigate the 24 land transactions in the prime areas in Accra, given to private developers without proper procurement processes.

The Committee is also to investigate 25 land transactions, which were declined, as well as investigate the veracity of some of the transactions, which were conducted based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Works and Housing to the purported Lessees.

The Deputy Minister noted that, under the MoU, the Lessees were just required to build some apartments for the Government in exchange of the lands at the prime areas.

He said: Investigate whether or not the method for the selection of the purported Lessees followed the due procurement process as stipulated in the Public Procurement Act, 2003, (Act 663) and the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, 2016, (Act 914).

Mr Owusu Bio asked the Committee to ascertain whether or not the principle of value for money was considered as the basis of the MoU since the Land Valuation Division of the Lands Commission was not engaged to assess and advice on the market value of the lands.

He entreated the Committee to assign very clear reasons to decisions taken on those transactions, in order to cure any mischief, perceptions and speculations.

The Committee is supposed to submit recommendations on the preparation of a National Policy to regulate redevelopment and in-filling schemes on State and Public lands across the country.

It is to advise the Government on the lifting of the ban on State and Public lands allocations and any other issue as the Committee may deem credible and fit to investigate.

The rest of the Committee members are; Professor Felix Hammond, Mr Kofi Dankwa Osei, Mr Alex Quainoo and Alhaji Sulemana Mahama.

Source: Ghana News Agency