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State owes only 20 percent of all land in Ghana

Most land in Ghana is communally owned by the indigenous tribal groups which operate through their traditional social structures, which can be matrilineal or patrilineal, and their customary hierarchies of governance.

These systems affect who can own land and how customary land transactions are conducted. By extension, they affect who is building and where housing will be located. Although the land is communally owned by entire indigenous groups, the management of the land is customarily vested in the traditional chiefs and elders of the principal families of these indigenous groups.

The state currently owns about 20 per cent of all land in the country; its activities are handled by the Lands Commission as the sole agency for administering public land, including expropriation and assignment on behalf of the state.

However, the 1992 constitution Chapter 20 Clause 257 indicate that public lands are vestment of in the President. All public land in Ghana is vested in the President on behalf of, and in trust for, the people of Ghana. Public land includes any land which has been vested in the Government of Ghana for the public service of Ghana, and any other land acquired in the public interest. All vested lands in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions revert to the original owners.

Exclusion of foreigners from freehold leases
Constitution of Ghana Chapter 20 Clause 266 – Non-Ghanaians are excluded from freehold interest in land in Ghana and any existing freehold held by non-Ghanaians is deemed to be leasehold for fifty years from 1969 reverting to the state upon the expiry of the lease. Non-Ghanaians cannot hold leases of and beyond fifty years.

Stool and Skin Lands and Property
Constitution of Ghana Chapter 20 Clause 267 indicates that all land belongs to the indigenous settlers and is vested in the appropriate stool or skin on behalf of, and in trust for the subjects of the stool in accordance with customary law and usage. No stool or skin land can be disposed off unless the intended development is in compliance with the development plan of the area.
No person(s) shall hold a freehold interest in, or right over, any stool land in Ghana. The Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands shall be responsible for safe administration of rents, dues, and royalties. revenues or other payments and their disbursement as follows; 10 per cent to the office of the Administrator of Stool Lands to cover administrative expenses, and of the remaining amount, 25 per cent to the stool, 20 per cent to the traditional authority; and 55 per cent to the District Assembly.

Compulsory acquisition of land by the state
State Lands Act, 1962 (Act 125) The President (acting on behalf of the state) has the power to acquire the absolute interest in any land for use in the “public interest”. However, the Act did not define the definition of “public interest”. Provision is made for payment of compensation, estimated at the open market value, or land of equivalent value may be offered as compensation.

By: Samuel Mantey
Property Express


August 1, 2012 - Posted by | SETTING THE NEWS AGENDA

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