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A Five-Member Independent Committee constituted by the Bono Regional Minister, Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene to investigate issue of encroachment on the Ridge Cluster of schools land in the Sunyani Municipality at the instance of a petition received from the PTA, past/old students, head teachers and staff on 10th March, 2022 has submitted its report to the Minister in Sunyani for action.

The Ten-page report presented to the Minister was signed by the Chairperson and Secretary to the Committee, Ms. Gyamfuaah Sarpong, Principal State Attorney of Sunyani Office and Mr. Alexander Bae-Yeboah, Assistant Director I of Bono Regional Coordinating Council respectively.

According to the report, regarding the establishment of the true Land Title/Ownership to the land under dispute; the Committee established that the Ridge Cluster of Schools did not have ownership over the land as claimed.

‘This is premised on the Committee’s referenced to the approved layout for the area in dispute dated 1978’, it said. The report noted that the school authorities could not provide any approved site plan contrary to what was available and the claim of ownership by the school was obviously hinged on the fact that, the school was the primary occupant at the area and thus assumed sweeping ownership of same for the purposes and in good faith for future expansion in the public interest.

On the way forward, the Committee recommended that Management of every public entity, being schools, hospitals, District Assemblies should take necessary steps to properly document to secure the ownership of such lands they occupy.

This will enhance legal claim and possible win of cases should there be any encroachment. Doing this will protect and enhance the probability of judgment in favour of the Institution in the event of every legal action.

The Committee also recommended that, even though the Ridge Cluster of Schools did not have legal claim over the land in question; yet in the public interest, property owners could be engaged to release plots Nos. 67, 66, 65,64,63,83,82,81,80 and 79 for re-zoning for future expansion of the school land.

Those property owners could be compensated with plots of land elsewhere within the Municipality, if they so agree.

The Minister upon receipt of the report expressed her gratitude to the committee for the good work and promised to implement the findings of the report. She bemoaned issues regarding land disputes in the Region and advised individuals as well as institutions to be vigilant and put in place measures to document all their lands and state lands with the Land commission to avoid future encroachments and litigation.

The leadership of Ridge Cluster of schools, PTA, representatives of the Sunyani Traditional Council and other stakeholders said they would study the report and act appropriate.

The Members of the Committee included the Regional Director of Education, the Principal State Attorney, of Sunyani Office of the Attorney General, the Regional Commander for National Investigation Bureau (NIB), the Head of Municipal Physical Planning Sunyani West Municipal Assembly, Professor Eric Ofosu Antwi, University of Energy and National Resources and Mr. Bae-Yeboah Alexander Assistant Director I at the Bono Regional Coordinating Council.

Source: Imoro T. Ayibani
Information Service Department, Bono Region

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