Mr Francis Manu-Adabor, Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry, has advised surveyors to study the new Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036) and be abreast with tenets of the provisions for effective service delivery.
He charged the executive of the License Surveyors Association of Ghana (LiSAG) to regularly train members of the Association on the Act to serve their clients better.
Mr Manu-Adabor, who is also the Member of Parliament for Ahafo Ano South East, gave the advice on Wednesday at this year's Annual Seminar and General Meeting of the LiSAG on the theme, " The Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036) and the Licensed Surveyor's Role for Efficient Land Services Delivery."
Parliament in 2020 passed the Act, which aims at revising and consolidating the laws on land, with the view to harmonising the laws to ensure sustainable land administration and management and effective land tenure.
It further seeks to consolidate the various legislations on land into one enactment to provide a comprehensive statement in respect of the consolidated legislation.
Mr Manu-Adabor said the Act was to help streamline the land administration system by introducing clear, coherent, and consistent policies and laws supported by appropriate institutional structures.
"The Act provides a general description of the interests in land in the country and it is the responsibility of the surveyor to undertake the demarcation of these interests and make effort to find out the persons in whom the interests are vested and the persons with the capacity to deal with," he said.
He said Section 84 of the Act stated that before an area was declared a title registration district, a survey of the boundaries of the proposed area had to be carried out and a plan produced, stressing that the survey was to be done by a licensed surveyors.
One of the innovative reforms made by the Act, the legislator said, was the introduction of criminal offences and consequential sanctions for unlawful acts carried out by persons involved in land transactions.
He cited Section 12(1) of the Act, which explained the provision to protect interests in land and among others, addressed the peculiar problem of land guards in the country.
The provision states that: "a person who unlawfully exercises or purports to exercise supervision of land development in a location and has no interest in the land or prevents a developer or through another person unlawfully uses force or violence to prevent access to land or drives away that person commits an offence."
Such offence, he said according to the Act was liable on summary conviction to term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years and not more than 15 years.
Mr Manu-Adabor said Section 277 said falsification of land records, fraudulently issuing of any document or procuring of registration of any document, erasure or alteration of documents issued by the Lands Commission, among others were punishable under summary conviction with fines and/or criminal convictions.
Mr Kwame Tenadu Snr, President, LiSAG, said the Association had contributed immensely to the new Land Act to protect the practice of the survey profession.
He said the Association had been transformed from "freedom fighters" to a national advocacy and a welfare body championing national policies on land management.
The President said the Association in February 2017, launched its policy, which provided an avenue for fighting quackery and ensuring that standards were maintained to protect the public from unscrupulous people engaged in such acts.
"Our collaboration with the Property Fraud Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police has made it possible for issues relating to forgery and impersonation of licensed surveyors to be investigated and dealt with accordingly," he added.
Mr Tenadu said the Association had also collaborated with academic institutions offering training in land surveying and geo information disciplines to pursue projects and courses to the advancement of the practice.
Mr James E.K.Dadson, the Acting Executive Secretary, Lands Commission, commended LiSAG for collaborating with the Commission in fighting fraudulent activities in the administration of land in the country.
He said the Commission had embarked on a land reform agenda, including the digitisation of 10 per cent of its records in Accra, mapping of selected regional capitals to facilitate systematic land title and the decentralisation of its service.