Today, My Take is brief in simply stating the correct position of a gravely misunderstood law causing fear and panic, especially among citizens labouring abroad to buy land and own real property in Ghana.

It is a matter that strangely gains traction ever so often. Caretakers of land – and land, in law, includes any building on it – these caretakers get wrongly emboldened to make misguided demands of their landlords.

In some instances, the wrong notions about their rights move them to hatch wicked plans including harming and even killing. Yes, they, rather strangely, feel cheated by those who put them in their property. It does not matter that they may have begged to be allowed temporary shelter for themselves and their families.

In fact, sometimes, the fact that their benefactors may be their source of livelihood is forgotten in their wicked and false sense of entitlement pursuit to dispossess the kindest people of their sweat and toil.

The law, indeed, is not an ass. Here is the clarity; the twelve-year rule in section 10(1) and (6) of the Limitation Decree, 1972 does not say a landlord loses hold of it because they put a caretaker in their property for that long.

What it says, rather loudly, is that if someone put you on the land or in the house, they never lose it as the true owners because it is they who put you on or in it. In other words, you are on the land or in that house with their consent and at their pleasure.

The statement that the law is commonsense is often true. If they put you there, and you turn around to attempt to dispute their ownership, they have every right to evict you – throw you out! Go nurse your greed elsewhere!

The twelve-year rule or the law of adverse possession is intended, mainly, to remove the injustice of you acquiring a land, and may be making expense to develop it, only to be dispossessed even after a long period of twelve years of acts of open, visible and unchallenged possession.

That law is simply that if you slept on your right for that long, you may not be entertained in court to recover it. But take note that by section 236 of our new Land Act, sitting on or developing government land for a hundred years in whatever circumstances, will never make you the owner. It does not matter whether you entered onto it as a squatter or you bought it.

In fact, you will be committing the crime of trespass and whoever sold that public land to you is also looking to be slapped with a fine of sixty to one hundred and twenty thousand Ghana cedis and/or seven to fifteen years in jail. Justice Alexander Osei Tutu treats this subject beautifully in his book – Essential Themes in Land Law and Customary Law.

Don’t thank me yet. Join me on my weekly legal clinic THE LAW show tomorrow @ 2pm as I host two great legal minds, Emmanuel Bright Atokoh and Veronica Frimpong to give education on whether courts make orders for demolition of property when is such exercise legal. And that’s My Take.

May 18, 2024

Samson Lardy ANYENINI