Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Parliament are upset over Lands Commission’s failure to collect ground rents totaling some GHC 1.6 million.
The outstanding monies owed the Commission is contained in a 2017 audit report by the Auditor-General.
According to the 2017 report, 483 lessees/assignees owed ground rent totaling GHC 1.6 million for the period between December 1975 and December 2015.
The report revealed that lessees at East Legon owe GHC 251,344 for the period between 1975 and 2015, Airport residential assignees also owe GHC 380,851 from the year 1979 to 2015.
Assignees at South Legon also owe GHC 441,491 from the year 1981 to 2015. Other areas include East Legon Ambassadorial Area where lessees owe some Ghs 212,608 from 1988 to 2015 and Osu, Ghs 369,546 from 1987 to 2015.
The Auditor-General, in the report, stated that their interactions with the head of the Ground Rent Management Unit of the Commission indicated that the laxity in collection of the rent was due to the ignorance of the lessees of their rent obligations.
Chairman of the Committee, James Klutse Avedzi, during deliberations at the PAC sitting, expressed shock over the development and questioned why prime areas such as East Legon and Airport Residential Area owed the Commission such an amount of money.
Responding to the questions posed to him by the committee, the Executive Secretary at the Lands Commission, Sulemana Mahama, told the committee that his outfit is facing difficulties in collecting the debt owed it by assignees.
He, however, stated that the Commission is currently engaging the services of a consultant to assist them with the collection of the debts.
Ranking Member on the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Kofi Okyere-Agyekum, urged the Commission to privatise the collection of ground rents to generate the needed resources.