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ANNUAL SEMINAR AND GENERAL MEETING HELD

As part of the legislative process, they were invited to sit in special sessions of the Committee among representatives of other stakeholders to partake in deliberations on the draft provisions of the Land Bill.

Speaking at opening of the annual seminar and general meeting held in Accra, the chairman parliamentary select committee on lands and forestry Hon.Francis Manu-Adabor, has stated that the role of Lisag group through the development of the new land bill is tremendous by all standard.

According to him, the new land bill will arrest and prosecute any land guard or wrongful acquisition of land.

Read Full Statement Below

THE LAND ACT 2020, ACT 1036 AND THE LICENSED SURVEYOR’S ROLE FOR EFFICIENT LAND SERVICES DELIVERY

KEYNOTE ADDRESS DELIVERED AT THE

2021 ANNUAL SEMINAR AND GENERAL MEETING OF LICENSED SURVEYORS’ ASSOCIATION OF GHANA (LiSAG)

BY

HON. SURV. FRANCIS MANU-ADABOR
[MP, AHAFO ANO SOUTH EAST CONSTITUENCY AND CHAIRMAN, PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE ON LANDS AND FORESTRY]

HELD ON 13TH & 14TH OCTOBER 2021

Mr. Chairman,
ES of LC
Director of SMD LC
Distinguished Guests
Colleague Surveyors,
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning to you all.

Mr. Chairman, please permit me to start my delivery by thanking the organizers of the program for selecting me to give the keynote address. When I read the theme for the seminar, I had no doubt in my mind that the organizers did not suffer in selecting me, the chairman of the committee that defended the over 300 clauses of the bill into the new Land Act.

I sincerely acknowledge the great effort members of LiSAG have made over the past few years to transform the association. Sometime back it was solely Welfare Association but now a front line player in land administration in Ghana.

Secondly, I want to congratulate the Association for working very hard to produce and adopt a new Constitution to guide its activities and also for organizing its first Annual General Meeting under the provisions of the 2020 Constitution.

I am particularly impressed with the Association’s desire and commitment to operate a Constitution that promotes the image of Licensed Surveyors in Ghana through strict adherence to the land survey Act of Ghana (Act 127).

Indeed, I see the objective of this Seminar as very crucial as it seeks to enlighten its members on relevant provisions of the Land Act 2020, Act 1036, with respect to the noble profession and its role in delivering efficient Land Services in Ghana today.

I hope, LiSAG will use this forum to prepare the grounds for smooth take off with special reference to this new Act.

Mr. Chairman, permit me to briefly recall the circumstances that led to the promulgation of the Land Act 2020 Act 1036.

Studies have shown that the country’s land administration has some fundamental defects. The National Land Policy approved in 1999 identified some of these challenges as land encroachments, multiple land sales, use of unapproved development schemes resulting in haphazard development, compulsory acquisition of large tracts of land by the state without prompt and adequate compensation payment etc.

Of significant relevance to the land administration is the aspect of “Indeterminate boundaries of stool/skin lands resulting directly from the lack of reliable maps/plans. The use of unapproved, old or inaccurate maps, has resulted in land conflicts and litigation between stools, skins and other land-owing groups.

We still have quack surveyors in the system producing bad plans. Surveyors have become part of the problem and we necessarily must be part of the solution.

Mr. Chairman, it is rather encouraging that the Policy document did not only identify the specific challenges I have earlier mentioned, but it also outlined relevant policy actions to address them with the objective of improving land service delivery in the country.

ADVOCACY ROLE OF SURVEYORS

Mr. Chairman, I will, at this stage, like to acknowledge and place on record the strong and determined advocacy role the leadership of LiSAG, particularly the President and his team of experts, played in persuading my committee in Parliament to consider and endorse a major policy action that the National Land Policy directed to be taken to resolve land disputes and their associated ethnic conflicts in the country.

That Policy action was the

“enactment of legislation to require stool, skin, clan, family and other land owning groups, to demarcate and survey their land boundaries with the approval of the Survey and Mapping Division of the Lands commission to register their interests first before giving out portions of such lands to interested parties.

In relation to this, my Committee in Parliamentary received a number of Memoranda from LiSAG; its leadership also appeared before us to defend their submissions.

As part of the legislative process, they were invited to sit in special sessions of the Committee among representatives of other stakeholders to partake in deliberations on the draft provisions of the Land Bill.

Mr. Chairman, permit me to extend my sincere appreciation to the Leadership of your Association for the effort they made to collaborate with my Select Committee to translate that piece of policy action into legislation and today it forms part of Act 1036 and can be found in the elaborate provisions of Section 182.

THE ROLE OF THE SURVEYOR TO DEMARCATE AND SURVEY INTERESTS

The Act provides a general description of the interests in land in the country.
It is the responsibility of the surveyor to undertake the demarcation of these interests and in doing so, the surveyor must make the effort to find out the persons in whom the interests are vested and the persons with the capacity to deal with the land, this is to ensure that the client the Surveyor is dealing with has lawful capacity to deal in the land.

The Land Act takes into account provisions of the constitution, statute laws, administrative instructions, judicial decisions and the common law.

The Act repealed 13 legislations including

•Land Registry Act, 1962 (Act 122);

•Administration of Lands Act, 1962 (Act 123);

•State Lands Act, 1962 (Act 125);

•Section 11 of the Survey Act, 1962 (Act 127); and

•Land Title Registration Act, 1986 (P.N.D.C.L. 152)

OBJECTIVE OF THE LAND ACT
•The objective of the Act is to revise and consolidate the laws on land, with the view to harmonizing these laws to ensure sustainable land administration and management, effective land tenure and efficient surveying and mapping standards.

•The law:

•Consolidates with amendments the existing land related laws
•Codifies the existing law and
•Makes new provisions for improvement.

LAND ADMINISTRATION AND LAND MANAGEMENT

•The Land Act is designed to consolidate the existing land laws and introduce new provisions to make the acquisition and registration very efficient and reduce disputes over land.

•Several professionals have roles to play in the effective operationalization of the Act – e.g., Lawyers, Valuers and Surveyors.

The surveyors have a unique role to play. The Act provides that both title and deeds registration should be based on plans obtained through accurate surveys to be conducted under the supervision and control of the SMD of the Lands Commission.

TRANSFER OF INTERESTS AND RIGHTS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF LAND

•Section 33 – Persons Qualified to Prepare Conveyance

Only qualified legal practitioners are to prepare conveyances not just sign documents prepared by others.

So it is advised that licensed surveyors should avoid doing the work of lawyers by preparing indentures for their clients.

SURVEY OF LAND UNDER THE ACT

•Section 80 – 224

•The Act grants power to the Lands Commission to direct the demarcation or survey of any land

•The Lands Commission may, give a written authorization to any official surveyor or licensed surveyor, to enter upon any land to carry out the demarcation or survey of the land

•The surveyor should have the written authority with him when he goes to carry out the demarcation or survey.

•In carrying out the survey, the surveyor shall not enter into a building or an enclosed area unless he obtains the consent of the occupier of the building.

•If consent is refused the surveyor should give fourteen days’ written notice to the occupier.

•The surveyor should carry an approved ID card with him.

•If during the demarcation or the survey there is a damage to any private property, the damage shall be assessed and paid for.

•A surveyor may be directed to properly mark the boundaries of any land.

•The law prescribes penalty for the destruction of boundary marks

LAND ADMINISTRATION AND LAND MANAGEMENT

•LAND RECORDING AND REGISTRATION

The Act provides for three systems for recording and registration of land and interest in land.

➢      Customary Land Secretariat recording

➢      Title Registration and

➢      Deeds Registration.

LAND TITLE REGISTRATION

Title Registration Districts

•Surveyors are heavily involved in the title registration process from the creation of title registration districts to the demarcation, survey and preparation of approved plans for parcels for registration.

•Sec 84: Before an area is declared a title registration district, a survey of the boundaries of the proposed area has to be carried out and a plan produced. The survey is to be carried out by official surveyors or licensed surveyors. This plan is used for the declaration of the title registration district.

Registry map

•Sec 85: Before an area is declared a title registration district, the Director of SMD of LC shall ensure that a Registry map is prepared for the proposed district. The registry map contains all the individual parcels of land within the title registration district.

Notice of commencement of demarcation

•Sec 87: The Director of the Survey and Mapping Division of LC shall, within a period of not less than seven days before the demarcation of lands in a title registration district issue a notice in the locality and in a newspaper of national circulation and by a radio to inform persons in the locality likely to be affected.

Notice of demarcation and survey

•Sec 88: An official surveyor or a licensed surveyor who is directed by the Director of Survey and Mapping to survey or demarcate an area of land within the registration district may cause a notice to be served on the owner or occupier of land within the area to appear before the surveyor to identify his boundaries.

•The Director may also direct a surveyor to restore or re-erect a survey beacon or mark that is removed or obliterated

•Transfer of Registered Deeds unto the title register

•Section 99 provides for the compilation of instruments registered under the deeds registration system.

•Within one year before the declaration of a title registration district, the Land Registrar shall prepare
a list of all registered deeds and a list that shows instruments in which there appears to be conflicting interests.

•The Lands Commission shall, after the declaration of the title registration district, serve on the owners of registered deeds a notice of the intention of the Commission to register them as proprietors of their lands.

•The owners are, however, required to submit an approved plan to the Registrar.

•A major problem with the old Deeds Registration system was the use of inaccurate site plans. The expertise of surveyor is required in the smooth transfer of the old registrations under the deeds system unto the title register.

•Surveyors are expected to produce new approved plans to replace the old site plans.

•In this type of survey since it is a replacement of an inaccurate site plan with a new one, the surveyor should be very alert and diligent in the assignment.

•He should study the land document and the site plan very well. He should not just follow the mere instructions and the directions of the client.

•He should ensure that the size and the location of the land as shown on the new site plan should not vary too much from the old one.
Description of lands affected by dealing
•Sec 109: Where land or an interest in land which is being registered is evidenced by an instrument, that land or interest in the land shall not be registered unless there is attached to that instrument a plan of the land which has been approved and duly signed by the Director of the Survey and Mapping Division.

•Town Planning Layouts

•Under section 117, registration of land has to comply with planning layout approved for the affected area, except in the case of registration of an allodial title or where there is no local plan.

•Registration of Judgments

•Section 179 provides for the registration of court judgments. It requires a judgment relating to land to be accompanied by an approved plan of the land authenticated by the judge or the registrar of the court.

Registration of Allodial Titles is Mandatory

•Section 182 An allodial title holder shall not dispose of any interest in part of his land unless the whole of his land is registered.
Exceptions
•Part of the land affected by litigation or dispute is exempted from this requirement.
Exemption from Stamp Duty
•Section 103(4) To encourage allodial owners to register their lands there is exemption of instruments relating to the first registration of stool, skin, clan and family lands from the payment of stamp duty.

•Role of Surveyors

•This section places an onerous responsibility on surveyors by devising ways on assisting customary land owners to demarcate their lands for the purpose of first registration

DEEDS REGISTRATION

Plan attached to Instrument

1.Sec 208:  The plan attached to an instrument submitted for registration shall be accurately drawn and the scale chosen shall be as specified by the Lands Commission at the time of preparation and shall show clearly all the details and specifications required by the relevant enactment.

2. Every plan shall have a title which shall include the scale, the designation of the parcels of land shown in the plan, the region, district, city, town or village in which the land is situated.

3. Every plan shall be prepared by an official surveyor or a licensed surveyor.

Where the plan is prepared by an official surveyor, the plan shall be approved by the Director of the Survey and Mapping Division; and if by a licensed surveyor, the plan shall be certified by the licensed surveyor and approved by the Director of the Survey and Mapping Division.

•Rectification or Lands Commission records

•Sec 232: This section allows the Lands Commission to correct wrong plotting of land transactions arising out of wrong site plans.

•In such a case, a surveyor is required to prepare a new approved site plan which will be used to re-plot the transactions in the records of the Lands Commission.

•There are several thousands of these errors in the records of the Lands Commission that need to be corrected to clean up the records.

•Surveyors therefore have a lot of work to do.

COMPULSORY ACQUISITION

The Act provides the State with power to compulsorily acquire land.

•Preliminary Acquisition investigation

1.For the government to compulsorily acquire land, there ought to be preliminary investigation of the suitability of the land for the intended project.

For this purpose, the Lands Commission may authorise a surveyor to enter upon the land, survey and take levels of the land and adjoining lands in that locality subject to thirty days’ notice in the locality.

•Land to be demarcated, surveyed and entered on register

After the publication of the acquisition notice, the Lands Commission shall

●cause the areas to be affected by the compulsory acquisition to be demarcated and surveyed unless this has already been done to the satisfaction of the Lands Commission.

This survey may include the lands of people whose properties have been affected by the acquisition for various compensation claims.

•Section 237: The Lands Commission is the state agency responsible for all the processes of compulsory acquisition and compensation.

The Act provides a more open, transparent and accountable process of compulsory acquisition and compensation payment.

The Act has also mandated persons acting as fiduciaries to register their interests. This will require your services throughout the length and breadth of the Country. You must be ready for the huge task ahead of you.

The Act has also provided the public the opportunity to engage your services under an arrangement that will favor both parties (for instance terms of payment for your services) with the supervision of the Registrar of Land and the Director of SMD.

Section 182 sub section 5 states that;

The Chief Registrar may, in consultation with the Director of Survey and Mapping, cause an officer of the Lands Commission or a licensed surveyor and a holder of an allodial interest in land to enter into an arrangement necessary for effecting the demarcation of the boundaries and survey of the land and the preparation of a cadastral plan of that land for the purpose of registration”.

The Act also provides extensive provisions for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to manage conflicts (e.g., conflicts arising out of demarcation of interest and overlaps in the survey and demarcation exercise);

Section 182 sub section 6 states

“Where there are any conflicting and overlapping portions of land out of demarcation and survey of land covered by an allodial interest, the conflicting and overlapping portions shall be noted in the land register in the manner prescribed by Regulations”.

The above quoted section will need a regulation for the processes leading to the achievement of the objectives envisaged above.

I therefore call on you to get yourselves organised as always to participate in this and the many regulations that will be required to smoothly implement and deliver your services to the public and the State.

It is worth mentioning that the Act has made provisions to deal with the disturbing phenomenon where a group of people commonly referred to as Land Guards enter land to disrupt surveying activities and most often attack surveyors on site.

CONCLUSION

Ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion, the land Act also has introduced various sanctions regime which addresses issues of forgery, impersonation and other fraudulent activities.

At section 277, (1) A public officer or any other person who

a.     falsifies land records,
b.    fraudulently issues any document or makes or procures the registration of any document or instrument or erases an entry in or alters a document kept in or issued by the Lands Commission,
c.     fraudulently removes from the Lands Commission any land register or part of any land register or any other document filed with the Lands Commission,
d.    fraudulently defaces, obliterates or mutilates or causes to be defaced, obliterated or mutilated any land register or other document kept in the Lands Commission, or
e.     fraudulently causes any unauthorised entry or alteration to be made in any land register or other document kept in the Lands Commission,

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one thousand penalty units and not more than two thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than five years or to both.

Section 277 (3) A person who without reasonable excuse, the burden of proof which shall be on that person, willfully neglects or refuses to indicate the land of that person or land in which that person claims an interest or to assist in the demarcation of that land, when required to do so by a surveyor or an officer acting under this Act, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one thousand penalty units and not more than two thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than five years or to both.

The Licensed surveyor is both a private and a quasi-public officer exercising the authority of the Lands Commission and the Director, Survey and Mapping Division. Any act committed by you against this law makes you liable and you will suffer the consequences thereof after trial.

I will plead with the Association to ensure that each of its members gets a copy of the Land Act 2020, Act 1036 to study the relevant provisions. I would be very pleased if the association could organize workshops, seminars and symposia to educate members on the provisions of the Law to adequately equip them to serve your clients better.

Finally, I want to state that, the act is now in force but recommendations for amendments of various sections can be channeled through the Executive Secretary to the Minister for Lands and Natural resources who would also take it to the President for consideration. If the President is in support of the proposed amendments, he would then cause the Minister to forward same to Parliament for consideration.

Thank you for the opportunity. God bless our noble professionals. God bless our country Ghana.

Source: Nana Yaw Cobbina

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