A Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Law has revealed that land guards can now be convicted for at least five years and not more than 15-years.
Speaking on Joy News’ Newsfile Saturday, Kwame Gyan indicated that when one is found guilty of any land guard activity, there would be no option as a fine but rather the culprit would be imprisoned.
He said the new regime of Land Act sets out sanctions from section 11, 12, 72, 236 and 277 especially that of section 12 to deal prominently with land guard issues unlike the old system section 34 of the Land Registry Act of 1962, Act 122 which was not vehemently applied.
“Now they are different targets of section 12 that is very prominent and intended to deal with the land guard issues. In section 12, you can see clearly the objective where it starts talking about protection of land and land interest.”
He added, “if you look at what they have done with section 12, it is talking about someone who doesn’t have an interest in the land, who goes unto land to extort money from someone who has an interest in the land or to prevent someone who has an interest in the land from developing the land personally or uses another person to use force or violence to prevent someone who has interest from assessing or going to the land.
“That person upon summary conviction is going to prison for at least five years and not more than 15 years. So the description here is clearly the activities of land guards because that’s what they do.”
Although the above explained should come as good news to Ghanaians, he, however stated that the major issue of concern is how to enforce the section 12 of the Land Act to particularly deal with the menace of land guards.
“Sixteen years of work have produced this law and those who have been instrumental in the passage of the law are not going to be the ones who are going to go and arrest land guards and prosecute the land guards,” he told Samson Lardy Anyenini, host of Newsfile.
He further called for the reorientation and education of the police force on the legal sanctioning regime of the new land law.
Mr Gyan believes this will enable the police to appreciate the criminal components of land matters so that they would be able to address the criminal aspect of land issues, leaving the civil aspect to be handled by a court instead of telling people to go to court whenever there is a land dispute.
This, he said would serve as an example to all manner of people marauding around properties collecting digging fees and all manner of things that are happening across the country.