Stool Lands to go to Supreme Court for interpretation

LandscapeOffice of the Administrator of Stool Lands says it will go to the Supreme Court for interpretation of which institution has the mandate to be solely responsible for the payment of compensation on Stool Lands.

The Land Commission and the Land Valuation Board, have in recent times taken up the responsibility of disbursing compensation on stool lands, which the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands is contesting.

Madam Bobobee was reacting to claims that solicitors of claimants of stool lands compensations prefer Lands Commission and Lands Valuation Board to disburse compensation on stool lands.

She said Article 267 Sections (6) of the 1992 Constitution mandated the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands to disburse all monies accruing from stool lands to the rightful beneficiaries.

Madam Bobobee said the Attorney-General’s Department in a letter on April 10, 2006 gave the right to the Lands Valuation Board to effect compensation payments of stool lands in violation of the constitutional rights mandated to the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands.

The Attorney – General’s Department should not have favoured or succumbed to pressures from solicitors of claimants’ to infringe on the rights of the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands.

‘We have a ledger accounts for all the stool lands and one big account for all the stool lands, from which we disburse all compensation payments to beneficiaries,’ she said.

She said, because the two organisations had taken over the mandate of the Commission, the 10 per cent share that it was benefiting from stool lands compensation payments to manage its administrative cost was no more coming.

This, she said, had affected the operations of the Commission and ‘gradually running it to death’.

Madam Bobobee said, out of the 14 stool lands compensation payments made to beneficiaries in the Ashanti Region, it handled only four payments.

The remaining 10 stool lands compensation payments were either handled by the Land Commission or the Land Valuation Board.

Mr. Kwesi Bentil Enchill, Chief Valuer responsible for compensation at the Lands Valuation Division of the Lands Commission, who appeared before the Judgment Debt Commission, confirmed that until 2006, compensation disbursements of stool lands were channelled through the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands.

“Upon the advice of the Attorney-General’s Department, we have been effecting compensation payments through our Ministry”, he said.

Mr. Enchill said Lands Valuation Board was, however, not aware of compensation payment made to Kwadaso and Barekese Stools.

Asked what the challenges were like, regarding the acquisition of lands and payments of compensations, the Chief Valuer said, most of the times, processes of government acquired lands were rushed.

“Compensations are not always paid before the lands are acquired, funds for the payments of compensation are delayed and payments are done based on current land value,” Mr. Enchill said.

Referring to Attorney-General’s Department’s authorisation, Mr. Justice Yaw Appau, Commissioner of Judgment Debt Commission urged the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands to contest the matter in Supreme Court for a clear interpretation.

He expressed sadness that due to conflicting ownership of lands, compensation payments were made on current value of land instead of the previous value at which the land was acquired.

Source: GNA

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