For Waging War Against Land Grabbers… Lands Minister Lauded

 

The Minister of Lands, Country Planning and Environment has received commendations from members of the public, particularly residents in the Western Area where land grabbing has become commonplace since the 1980s.

The highly disciplined, no-nonsense Dr. Dennis Sandy is no stranger to a ministry fraught with all kinds of dubious activities with regards the management, administration and sale of both private and state owned lands.

He was first appointed by former President Koroma to sanitize a corrupt land administration system in the country.  But, unfortunately, behind the scenes, political intrigues due to intensive lobbying of the powers-that-be by a powerful land grabbing cabal that includes senior lands ministry officials and surveyors saw his gallant efforts at taking the fight to the land grabbers frustrated by his sacking from the cabinet.

Many years on, with President Bio having vowed to prudently manage the state and its resources, he deemed it fit to appoint as the country’s topmost land administrator and manager, the Fourah Bay College Economics and Social Science guru, Dr. Dennis Sandy as the Minister of Lands charged with the responsibility to once again sanitize the system.

For the hundreds, if not thousands of people who have suffered huge financial losses, and forfeiture of their lands to the activities of land grabbers, Dr. Sandy is seen as a knight in shiny armor they count on to make ancient rights wrong by him going after the powerful land grabbing cartel.

On the other hand are the notorious land grabbers who would not stop at anything within their powers to ensure that they frustrate, sabotage and deter Dr Sandy at every twist and turn to identify and expose them.

Dr. Sandy has an uphill task in his attempt to sanitize the lands sector, in the sense that he is literally one man fighting against a power land grabbing cartel whose tentacles are widespread.

However, like Joseph Ben Kaifala who is leading the fight against corruption at the Anti Corruption Commission, Dr Sandy is unfazed.

He started his land sanitization programme by first holding series of meetings with senior staff of his ministry at headquarters and impressed on them that they are either with him or against him. Reluctantly or unwillingly, he has got them to join hands with him to take the fight to the land grabbers who currently are on the defensive.

With their support and cooperation, Dr. Sandy so far has visited the most notorious areas in the Western Area where state lands have been grabbed and succeeded in recovering vast tracts.

Investigation done by this press revealed that land grabbing would not have been a headache for successive governments dating back to the days of Late Dr. Bobson Sesay of ‘Broke Hos’ fame who fought gallantly during the Late President Kabbah reign to deter land grabbers and to retrieve from them state lands that they had expropriated, if senior lands ministry officials are not deeply involved in the racket.

By right, no parcel of land in the Western Area should have two or more documents laying claim to it.

The modus operandi of the land grabbers working with senior lands ministry officials is very simple. Lands officials identify unoccupied state and private lands. With this information from the ministry officials, fake backdated title and conveyance deeds are drawn up with the help of equally crooked lawyers and officials at the Administrator General’s Office.

Such matters would be very easy to resolve by the law courts who adjudicate in such matters if the land grabbers do not also have very strong links with corrupt officials in the judiciary. As such, it is not uncommon to see land dispute files gathering dust in the courts for many years due to endless adjournments.

However, with strong political will from His Excellency President Bio to drastically curtail corruption in the country, the country can count on a disciplined, incorruptible Dr. Dennis Sandy working with Lands ministry officials to not only put right ancient wrongs but to also in the process devise a new, strong, enforceable administration, management and sale of lands regime that will restore confidence to not only citizens but the international investment community.