The Right to Information Commission (RIC), has ordered the Lands Commission to release information on ‘returned’ State lands to pressure group, OccupyGhana.
The commission also slapped an ‘administrative fine’ of GH¢100,000 on the Lands Commission for earlier denying OccupyGhana the request.
OccupyGhana rejected the move by the Lands Commission to return Achimota Forest lands to the alleged owners, questioning its legality and constitutionality.
OccupyGhana dragged the Lands Commission to the RIC after its application of seeking information on returned state lands was turned down.
The RIC in its ruling on March 1, 2023, amongst others ordered the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission to provide information on all public lands which government’s ownership has been relinquished.
“The Executive Secretary [of the Lands Commission] shall ensure that the following pieces of information are released to the Applicant [OccupyGhana] not later than 14 days after receipt of this decision:
a. A list of all public lands over which government’s ownership or control has been relinquished, and the names of the person to whom those lands have been released;
b. The respective sizes and locations (suburbs, towns/cities and regions) of all such lands;
c. The conditions of release, whether free, sale, lease or licence;
d. If the land has been leased, the amount of rent paid or payable; and
e. Any other amounts paid or received by government, if any, for each such transaction,” the RIC ordered.
OccupyGhana in its statement explained that they were compelled to seek RIC’s intervention after the Lands Commission told them that they would do so upon advise from the Attorney-General.
“For a while, we tolerated the risible excuses, starting with the 7 June 2022 demand for the details of ‘any personality’ within our organisation, to the 21 June 2022 blame of its own ‘manual’ systems.
“But when on 2 September, the Lands Commission finally claimed that it was waiting for the Attorney-General’s advice on whether the consent of the persons to whom the State lands had allegedly been transferred was required to provide the information, we were compelled to seek the RIC’s intervention,” OccupyGhana added in its statement.