A pressure group has petitioned the Volta Regional House of Chiefs over alleged illegal sales of state lands in the Volta Regional capital of Ho to executives of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and government officials. 

According to the Coalition of Concerned Volta Youth, the Volta Regional Minister and officials of the Lands Commission are neck-deep in the act which robs the state of its properties.

A petition signed by 30 individuals implored the traditional authorities to launch an independent investigation into the allegation and prosecute persons found guilty. 

“We find this act by the Lands Commission, NPP executives led by the Volta Regional Minister very troubling, shocking, and comprehensive. Most importantly, this act by the Minister smacks of double standard.”

“We say this because this same Minister [Dr. Letsa] was on record to have bemoaned the alleged sale of lands in the region and instructed the Lands Commission to take steps to halt the immediate sale of those lands in June 2017, when he assumed office as the new Regional Minister”, the group stated. 

They also alleged that all the 18 NPP constituency chairpersons in the region have been appointed as members of the Lands Commission, while Ho Central NPP Chairman, Richard Kuadepor and South Tongu NPP Vice-Chairperson, Collins Avornu, are board members of the Lands Commission. 

Their petition follows a press release issued by a whistleblower and Assembly Member for the Ho Central Electoral Area, Adzome Emmanuel in March on the alleged grabbing of state lands. 

He mentioned sons of Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional NPP Women’s Organiser, Afi Adzagbo, Ho Central NPP Chairman, Richard Kuadepor, and the Volta Regional Manager of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Mac John as some of the individuals who have benefited from the alleged sales of the lands. 

According to him, plots of land opposite Stadium, Malaria Quarters, Residency, Kabore Quarters, Kabore Down, Government Secretarial School, Ring Road, and Lokoe Gas Filling Station have been sold out. 

Joy News visited one of the aforementioned lands opposite Kabore and Regional Model school complex, which indeed are being developed at a fast pace. 

However, the Volta Regional Lands Commission fought off the allegations indicating that none of the individuals listed, were allocated lands, nor did they apply for such lands, with the exception of Afi Adzagbo who tendered in a request for a residential plot at Kabore School.

“Again, for some of the questions asked, we wish to say that, several applications have been received by the Lands Commission but we are not aware of children of the Hon Regional Minister [Dr. Letsa] as having applied for state land”, the counter-press release signed by the Volta Regional Lands Officer, Jonathan Kwabla said.

He explained that his secretariat received approval from the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry for an “in-filling” exercise to re-demarcate public lands in Ho, due to several requests for the lands in 2015.

“This exercise would therefore mean, where a bungalow occupied about one acre or more land, the excess of the reasonable space the bungalow occupied could be parceled into additional building plots with a scheme (layout)”, he said. 

Mr. Kwabla added that lands around the Residency were allocated to qualified applicants after the “in-filling” exercise under the Mahama-led administration.

He, however, indicated that Dr. Letsa upon assuming office in 2017 objected to the allocation of lands in the immediate environs of the Residency, on the premise that, security at the seat of government in the region, would be compromised. 

“A committee was constituted to that effect. The committee reviewed the exercise and recommended that the Residency Area be reserved strictly for State Institutions. All other allocations were to be migrated or relocated to the Kabore School Area”, he added.

Mr. Kwabla explained that the allocations were subsequently relocated to Kabore School, while others who met the requirements were also allocated lands in the same vicinity after the Ho Municipal Assembly okayed a layout prepared by the Survey and Mapping Division of the Lands Commission and the Land Use Spatial Planning Authority (LUPSA). 

“We are not aware of any application from Richard Kuadepor. However, Mr Richard Kwadekpo was a member of the Review Committee, so he could have been seen on the field during one of the inspection exercises. We are also not aware of the composition of the Lands Commission being made up of Constituency Chairmen”, he further stated.

He clarified that every citizen is qualified to apply for public lands which can only be leased for a period and not sold.