Citizens in Ghana are fraught with difficult situation when it comes to land acquisition. The issues faced by the citizens are not related to land prices; rather it is the administrative system or the lack of it, that they fear most.
The long winding, extravagant formalities and procedures involving multiple agencies has create an environment of corruption and dissatisfaction. This has resulted in a sentiment that refrain people from getting their land registered with the state institutions. The situation has led to the growth of a quasi-system or a private system for handling the land deals instead of registering it with the government.
As much as 80% of the land is with customary holders, while the remaining 20% is under the state control. In the pre independence days, when Ghana was under the British rule, the data related to land ownership was not maintained properly. Land transactions were often not certified by the authorities then. Also, the physical landmarks and the land maps did not match in most cases. This resulted in massive land disputes and endless litigations.
At the onset of the 19th century, things changed and Land Registry Act came into being. This act made it mandatory to record all the transactions through the deed registration system. This also made it mandatory to have all the documents in a person’s name so as to ascertain the ownership of land. However, this system is not sacrosanct as the system does not entail the right to inspect the documents and reject them in case where they are not in order or in case when the ownership is dubious.
Now, this has resulted in an unreliable situation, as any person who is in possession of a title deed can claim the ownership of the land and also sell it to a third party. There are so set procedures or processes and no fool proof way of identifying the true owners. Also, there have been oral deals, where the land was passed on to the individuals without any document, through customary land tenures. Thus, multiple owners claimed ownership to a land, or lands were sold by unauthentic owners, resulting in a total chaos in the system.
Since the system has failed, the government now has taken support of the institutions to oversee the land acquisition in Ghana. Today the system has evolved and now the land system includes Forestry, Lands and Mines Ministry Land Administration program. This has successful led to a well administered land system.
However, the problem is far from over and one needs to take in to account several factors before purchasing land in Ghana. One still needs to undertake due diligence to authenticate the land owner. This involves dealing with the Lands Commission, obtaining a cadastral plan, sign the transfer agreement, getting the land deal registered with the Lands commission and more.
Thus, if you want to buy land in Ghana and experience a seamless, hassle free experience, without having to worry about the legal land ownership, you must use the services of professional institutions.