Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Members of the Majority side in Parliament have chastised Tamale North MP, Alhassan Suhuyini, accusing him of going public with discussions of the Lands and Natural Resources Committee of Parliament over the alleged dealings between state institutions and land guards.

Chief Director, of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Prof Patrick Agbesinyale is alleged to have said that state institutions including the Police and Army, usually engage land guards to protect state lands.

But according to the chairman of the Lands and Natural Resources Committee, Francis Manu-Adabor, he is determined to drag Mr Suhuyuni before the Speaker for going public with a committee’s closed sitting.

Prof Patrick Agbesinyale claimed during a meeting with Parliament’s Lands and Forestry Committee on Monday, July 10, that the government employs land guards to protect and reclaim state lands.

Mr Suhuyini who was a member of the committee commented on the issue in public and this enraged the chairman of the committee.

Mr Manu-Adabor views the deputy ranking member’s move as a betrayal saying it violates the committee’s operating procedures.

He added that his conduct is offensive to the rules of Parliament.

“The committee is a committee of Parliament and we had a referral from the Speaker of Parliament so it is the speaker that we can report no other person until we finish with that report, any information that comes out of that committee work is a betrayal,” he said.

“We don’t have to break any news we need to send the report to Speaker and all these findings if they are actually true, the speaker will direct us on what to do. We didn’t go to do any investigation on our own.

“So we don’t have to break any news from that committee work to the public without reporting first to the speaker. I don’t have to break any news because I’ve sworn an oath of secrecy. Everything that comes out of a committee work we must report to the speaker at the plenary for discussion,” he added.

The Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service have been accused of hiring a notorious land guard popularly known as ‘Gyato’ to reclaim their lands that have been encroached on. 

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Prof Patrick Agbesinyale, made the revelation on Monday, July 10, during a meeting with Parliament’s Lands and Forestry Committee.

Prof Patrick Agbesinyale said the security agencies then apportion parts of the reclaimed lands to the land guard as payment his work. ‘Gyato’ allegedly carries out similar activities for the government according to Prof Agbesinyale.

“So, he recently reclaimed some lands for us, and out of that land, we gave him 50 of 6,000 acres as payment for all his expenses. So he has the right to sell that 50. If he is selling it, there is noise all over the place.”

“He doesn’t even sell it. He gives it out for people to develop so that he gets his share. I can give you a tall list of lands that Gyato (land guard) has claimed for us to the extent that even the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service their lands that have been encroached hire Gyato to reclaim for them,” he claimed.

According to him, the decision not to use the police or the military in protecting and reclaiming lands was to avoid public backlash.

“I think the idea was that anytime the government apparatus; the police, military among others are seen going out there to claim lands, you know the hullabaloo and backlash the government receives.

“So, what they do is that you would set up somebody like this and the government would literally be hiding behind it so he can reclaim government lands.”

This is in spite of the passage of the Vigilantism and Related Offenses Act, 2019(Act, 999) which clearly criminalizes such activities. 

Clause 7(5) of the Act says; A person shall not directly or indirectly, engage a land guard to protect or guard the property of that person or any other person. 7(6) says; a person who contravenes subsection (5) commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not less than 10 years and not more than 15 years.

However, the Lands Ministry, Ghana Armed Forces, and Police have all denied the allegations.

By Admin

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