Volta Regional Minister Dr Archibald Letsa has accused the Lands Commission in the region of selling plots of land around the residency of the regional minister and other public officials under an initiative called “In-filling”.
According to him, the move, if not curtailed, will pose a security threat and undermine future intentions of government to develop the lands for some of its projects.
Dr Letsa, who lamented over the development at a press conference held in the regional capital, Ho, noted that he had issued a directive to the Lands Commission to halt the allocation of lands.
He told the press: “The In-filling exercise is a massive and extensive exercise where allocations have been made too close to the residency, bungalows of government institutions, and public officials to the total neglect of the attendant security implications. I, being Regional Minister, have made known my outrage at the concept behind the exercise as a whole and had, without mincing words, called for an immediate halt to the exercise.
“The Lands Commission which was to manage lands vested in the President of Ghana by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana rather deemed prime state lands in the residency and Kabore enclave within the Ho municipality as fallow lands which must be put to some kind of use at any cost other than preserved for government purpose. In other words, the Lands Commission viewed the spaces between official bungalows as either fallow or wasteful as long as there were no structures sitting on them, hence the policy to survey, create plots, and grant the leases.
“…The so-called Infilling exercise by the Volta regional Lands Commission has created numerous plots of land for allocation to individuals which exhausts the entire land space which will be necessary for future state uses or projects.
“Some of these plots are so close for comfort to the regional minister’s residence and neighbouring official bungalows. There is for instance a grant made just behind the residency for a hotel. All these allocations have been done without assessment of their security implications.
“Some of the persons who are listed for grants of land are persons obviously neither in need of state leases at all or have obviously no express interest in taking a lease of government land let alone able to erect standard structures within the vicinity of the residency that the list entirely exhausts the land space in this strategic enclave. We are alarmed by the reasoning that could warrant such a move by anybody to want to grant a 99-year lease of such strategic land in the regional capital at a time when government resources are so stretched that it is unable to acquire lands and pay fair and adequate compensation to land owners.
“Indeed, following this revelation, I requested an immediate halt to the supposed Infilling exercise and dispatched a letter to the…minister for Lands and Natural Resources, copied to the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, calling for a review and if possible reverse the entire exercise.”