Former Chief Justice, Dr Ade Renner Thomas, has disclosed that the government does not know the amount of state lands in her possession because of a poor documentation system.
Delivering a document on the topic “land titling system” at a one-day seminar convened by the ministry of Lands at the Bank of Sierra Leone complex yesterday, he said the land titling system of registration was one of the best systems in the world.
He said registration of conveyances or deeds was inherent in Sierra Leone and had given rise to insecurity all over the place.
Most of the cases in court, he said, were land cases.
The former Chief Justice noted that, “there are instances in Freetown were people are armed with cutlasses fighting over lands, all as a result of discrepancies in land transaction and registration certification of legally possessed lands.”
Explaining the implementation strategy, he said people should go away from registration of deeds and go in for land titling registration in order to promote transparency in the process, so that people would be given the opportunity to adjudicate through a tribunal or a commission.
He said adjudication would only come up if any contestant showed up for a piece of land, the commission or tribunal would verify the matter before registration and certification.
He opined that, “registry workers have no time to verify land documents before registration”, adding that they were more concerned with tips from customers than the legal aspects.
The minister of Lands and Country Planning, Benjamin Davies, said the purpose of the seminar was a unique one to handle land management issue through strategic planning.
He said all the land related legislations would be critically looked into from the holistic perspective to achieve effective land management in the country.
He confirmed that there were 20 surveyors in his ministry, and that all would be issued identification cards soon before undertaking any job.
He concluded that, “state the Land ACT 19 of 1960 gives the ministry of lands power to use and dispose of state lands.”