The Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Professor Patrick Agbesinyale, has refuted claims suggesting that government engages the services of landguards to assist in reclaiming encroached government lands.
Alhassan Suhuyini, the Member of Parliament for Tamale North alleged that the Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has confessed that the Government had entered into a contract with landguards to protect State lands and retrieve encroached government lands.
According to the MP, the Chief Director of the Lands Ministry at a Parliamentary Select Committee meeting on July 10, 2023, told the Committee, saying, “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 Government would literally be hiding behind it so he can reclaim government lands.”
However, Prof Agbesinyale, who appeared before the Public Accounts Commitee (PAC) on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, elaborated his statement to the committee, saying; “I think I take exception to that reportage.”
“I think land guard unfortunately is a terminology that all of us don't want to be associated with, at least we know what land guards are, they are illegal entities that operate and engage in all forms of criminal activities, I can't imagine saying government uses land guards,” he explained.
The Chief Director added that “We cannot attribute land guards to our respectable security agencies, it is unfair, and I personally take a very strong exception to that, because I never mentioned land guard in my submission to the committee, I never”, he added.
The Ministry and three of its Agencies led by the Deputy Minister, Benito Owusu-Bio, on behalf of the sector Minister, appeared before the PAC to explain some infractions that were recorded by the Auditor-General during the 2020 financial year.
The Agencies are Lands & Forestry Commissions, as well as the office of the Administrator of Stool Lands.