Deputy minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu Bio, has called on the Lands Commission to get rid of middlemen, otherwise known as ‘goro boys’ from its operations.
According to him, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken the bold initiative to get rid of the recalcitrant and the bad nuts within its system. In light of this, he revealed that, members at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources are also going to follow such example to ensure that they equally rid the system of such persons.
Addressing the issue during an Editor’s Forum today, August 21, 2023, following the 2021 study conducted by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which cited the Lands Commission as one of the most corrupt institutions in Ghana, Mr Owusu Bio stated that measures are underway to sanitize the Commission.
“We are asking the Lands Commission to get rid of those goro boys and the goro people in the system. These goro people cannot work in isolation, they can only work with the connivance and assistance of personnel within the system of Lands Commission.”Benito Owusu Bio
Furthermore, Mr Owusu-Bio established that the meeting was to equally discuss some innovative strategies being undertaken by the ministry to ensure a robust land service delivery system which is focused and result oriented.
He acknowledged that the Lands Commission by its nature of work and current infrastructure, has made it possible for middlemen to operate and take advantage of unsuspecting clients.
Nonetheless, he stated that a number of interventions are being pursued by the Ministry to scale up the commencement of the Land Administration Reform project before the end of the year.
Stamp duty fraud among Lands Commission staff
The deputy lands minister pointed out that some staff of the Commission who were dragged before court for stamp duty fraud are currently being investigated for possible prosecution if found culpable. He said, this punitive action will serve as a deterrent to other officers.
To this, he assured the participants of the Lands Commission’s readiness to serve its clients with efficient services, and for that reason, an improved service delivery.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Surveyor James Dadson, revealed that the Commission has begun among other efforts, to digitize its system and phase out corruption. He explained that this has been a major challenge for the Commission.
“It is an exception for a document that passes through the hands of a goro boy to go ahead of the document that goes through the system. Some of them even take the money and they vanish. The document will be lying there, we will be looking for the person to go for an inspection and nobody shows up. Especially the people abroad, somebody comes to Ghana after two years, shows up at the Lands Commission, and then we find out that indeed these are the steps that if we are able to reach you, you will be cleared.”James Dadson
In a comprehensive presentation, Mr Dadson addressing the UN report and highlighted on some innovative interventions to mitigate the issue. This, he noted, includes digitization of Lands Administration Services, modernized records management system, delivery and Compliance Dashboard, online payment of fees and receipts and infrastructural development, amongst others.
Also, Mr Dadson touted some challenges affecting the Commission’s work outputs as multiple sale of parcels of lands, inadequate equipment and tools, non-use of professionals by the public, among others.
He noted that under the auspices of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource, the Lands Commission has commenced processes to engage experts in the private sector to transform operations of the Lands Commission, as mitigating strategies is the way forward.