Transparency International launches land ownership, transparency report

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July 27, 2018

By Mohamed Massaquoi

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Local TI Executive Director,Lavina Banduah and Edward Bendu displaying the report

Transparency International (TI) yesterday launched a research report on land ownership and transparency  at the British Council Hall in Freetown. The report comprehensively looked at broader issues surrounding authority to acquire or lease land in Sierra Leone, management of land for social and environmental welfare, land registration system, among other things.

Giving an overview of the research, T I Programme Manager, Edward Koroma, said the report analyses land registration and application of legal framework in the country to determine whether those policies ensured adequate transparency and accountability stands in the context of beneficial ownership.

He said they embarked on the venture to test the level of community benefit derived from land deals.

“In Sierra Leone, all land including customary land and state land can be acquired through Section 21 of the 1991 Constitution. The country has not developed a land registration system that tracks land deals and discloses the identities of those who have the right to retain significant economic benefits from land and natural resources,” he said.

Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Land, Hon Qunitu Salia Konneh, said often and again, organisations had organised meetings for stakeholders to discuss serious national issue, but have always failed to implement or engage the relevant stakeholders to effect the necessarily changes.

He said land issues are so crucial to the peace and development of Sierra Leone and that serious actions should be taken to address the multiples of land conflict.

“Land issues stand discriminatory at some quarters especially in the Western Area where people are paying Le50 million for a plot of land. This will deprive poor people to get access to land. As chairman of this committee, we will work with stakeholders to address land situation,” he said.

Edward Bendu of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and the Environment said the study examined the current land governance system in the country including the legal framework, existing challenges, more especially on accountability issues.

He said the ministry has taken note of the findings and that government will put strategies in place to address some of the challenges.

“As a ministry that now has a leadership that has a strong appetite to perform and deliver, with a crop of professionals that have tremendous strength to deliver on its mandate, we take this rating seriously,” he said.