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General News of Thursday, 26 August 2021


15-year jail term for state land encroachers – Benito Owusu-Bio

A self-acclaimed surveyor who was spotted on site was arrested A self-acclaimed surveyor who was spotted on site was arrested

The deputy minister of lands and natural resources in charge of lands and forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio, on Wednesday, 25 August 2021, led a team from his ministry and the Lands Commission to inspect some state lands, particularly Amrahia Dairy Farms, sandwiched between the La Nkwantanan Madina and Adenta municipalities.

Addressing the media at the dairy farms, the minister disclosed that these lands were acquired in the 1960s mainly for agricultural and dairy purposes.

However, due to low investments, the lands have been left to fallow and encroachers are taking advantage of the situation to steal the property.

There was an on-site demolition of some buildings that had been erected beyond the boundary belt built to protect the land.

Also, a self-acclaimed surveyor who was spotted on site was arrested.

This action, the deputy minister said, will serve as a deterrent to others to stop encroaching.

He also sent out a strong warning, stating emphatically that per the new Land Act 2020 (1036), issues pertaining to land encroachment will be dealt with as criminal cases and the culprits immediately arrested and jailed for a period of 15 years.

As a word of advice to the public, the deputy minister added: "Not all lands must be built upon; some must be left for vegetation and posterity."

He then urged the district assemblies and chiefs to desist from helping the citizens indulge in this act but rather aid the government to fight against encroachment.

On this, he said: "The law is no respecter of persons, so, whether [you are] an ordinary citizen, a chief or even a minister like myself will be arrested and jailed".

For his part, the dairy farm manager, Seth Frimpong, pointed out that over 150 acres of land have been encroached out of a total of 1,381 acres and called for an immediate intervention by the government to salvage the remaining lands.

Accompanying the deputy minister on the inspection exercise conducted on behalf of his boss, Samuel A. Jinapor, was the Acting Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, James Ebenezer Dadson.