GII ‘Land IMPACT Project’ to expose corruption in land administration

Anti corruption body the Ghana Integrity Initiative has stepped up efforts at tackling the issues of corruption in land administration across the country.

It follows a baseline research which suggests that one in every three persons had to pay bribes before acquiring lands or getting land documentation processed.

The research which was commissioned by GII also establishes that women are always disadvantaged in land acquisition as several cultures insist that landed property should be vested in men.

The four year land project which draws from GII’s,Integrity, Mobilization Participation Accountability Anti-corruption Transparency project cut short “IMPACT GHANA Project” is to bring together stakeholders to discuss these teething issues to find a lasting solution that ensures equity and fairness in land administration.

A stakeholder engagement was on Friday held in Kumasi with Chiefs, Civil Society Organisations, Land Administrators, Opinion Leaders and local government authorities in the Ashanti region.

The Key note address which was delivered by the Ashanti Regional Lands Officer Steven Oduro Kwarteng took a rather interactive and educational trend as he walked participants through the new land bill before parliament.

The presentation also provided some detail about new initiatives introduced by the Lands commission to reduce bottlenecks hampering land purchase sale and documentation in the country.

He outlined that the Ashanti regional lands Secretariat has begun putting in place measures to computerize its operations to ensure that the human element that breeds corruption is eliminated.

Mr Oduro Kwarteng who chalked major successes in the Western Region in the area of reduced turnaround time for land document processing; also disclosed that a Client Service Unit has been established to receive application documents and authorized payments for speedy processing.

He also indicated strongly that his office has instituted clear processes to reward exceptional staff and punish recalcitrant officers caught extorting monies from the public who seek services from the lands commission.

Project Coordinator for the Ghana Integrity Initiative Michael Okai recounted that the Impact Ghana Project had begun chalking successes in some towns where lands were wrongfully and unfairly taken over by traditional authorities and private developers.

An Advocacy Legal Advice Centre which has been equipped with a toll free line 0800 100250 has helped the project to receive complaints from victims of corruption, for prompt action.

Mr Okai was concerned, “People still have to pay bribes either to register their lands, to purchase parcels of land, getting leases and many more and women have been the worse off.”

He told Ultimate News’ Ivan Heathcote – Fumador, “There is lack of information about land in Ghana because the processes have been cumbersome and this project seeks to create an opportunity for people to be aware of the services and the costs so that we break away those bottlenecks of middlemen engaged in the corrupt aspect of it. It is also to empower women and get them more recognized within the land administration system because they have been marginalized for long.”

By:Ghana/ Heathcote – Fumador