Source: Miriam A. Cobblah
Chiefs, Clan and family heads can now be held accountable for the sale of lands they are entrusted with, according to Section Nine of the New Land Law.
Kwame Gyan, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Law explained that the reform now gives the state authority to take interest in the sale of lands in the country.
“Now you can ask a chief to render an account of their stewardship when it comes to land sales,” he told Samson Lardy Anyenini on Joy News’ Newsfile, Saturday.
Mr Gyan said chiefs cannot randomly and wantonly dissipate the lands like they use to do in the past.
“If you are head of a family, you are an occupant of a stool, you are a Chief, you are the head of a clan, you can no longer go on business as usual, selling the land left, right, center, and pocketing the proceeds, no,” he told host Samson Lardy Anyenini.
“In fact, for chiefs, it is even more dangerous for them now,” he stressed.
According to him, the modification was as a result of a strong opinion that there were no differences between a stool, clan and Family land under the Trusteeship Act.
Before now, the trusteeship concept in stool lands per article 267 clause 1 of the country’s constitution indicated that “stool lands shall be held by the appropriate stools as trustees for their subjects in accordance to the Customary Law in usage.”
However, the section 9:1 in the New Land Law indicates that, family and clan lands has also been brought under trusteeship.
“So if stool lands are held by occupants of stools and skills as trustees, then family lands and clan lands which are also communal lands should also be held by the heads of the families and the heads of the clans as trustees,” the senior lecturer explained.
Cautioning managers of lands, Mr Gyan said the idea of trusteeship has been extended from exclusively stool lands managers to clan lands and family lands with stern implications to those who may act contrary to the new development.
“This has serious implications for those who are managing clan and family lands, they shouldn’t continue to think that this is our family land so the state is not interested.”
Mr Gyan observed that, chiefs were not held accountable in the past possibly because there were no clear caption of such directive in the country’s law, noting that now that there is “the state is interested in how clan land and family lands are managed.