Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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Taking possession of land after acquisition

Land acquisition in Ghana is fraught with several challenges due to our peculiar land tenure system. One such major challenge is the multiple sale of land, and these are predominantly stools lands.

This challenge is so prevalent and is carried with such impunity that, the Land Act 2020(Act 1036), a recent enactment to help resolve some of these issues, has created fiduciary obligations for persons involved with the management and sale of lands and further introduced criminal sanctions.

A person who acquires land in Ghana after having completed all due diligence and documentation must proceed to secure his interest in the land by taking immediate possession of it.

Possession is a fact and is one way of showing titleship (possessory title).
Possession however as proof of titleship/ownership can be defeated by another person with a superior legal title to the land.

Possession of land involves actual physical control and exclusive possession of it.

Some acts of possession after mounting pillars to demarcate the exact boundaries of ownership, may include the planting of trees, farming, putting caretakers on the land where the land will not be developed immediately, erecting structures and construction of buildings etc.

All the above activities carried out on the land is proof that someone is in possession and is carrying out these activities.
These acts of possession are so important because the Courts of Ghana have held the slightest amount of possession to be sufficient.

It is important for a prospective purchaser of land to make all necessary enquiries on any signs of occupation on a parcel of land he or she is acquiring, to determine such interest and to challenge such occupancy where need be, otherwise he is said to have constructive notice of such interest by the occupant and bound by it.

Columnist: Ekua Eguakun

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