Results or Findings

The Exhaustive Land Registration Process of Ghana

In Ghana, land management functions are spread over multiple agencies. They include the four divisions of the country’s National Lands Commission (NLC-Ghana). These divisions are the Public and Vested Land Management Division (PVLMD), the Survey and Mapping Division (SMD), the Land Valuation Division (LVD), and the Land Registration Division (LRD). The other agencies are the Office of Administrator of Stool Lands, the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD), and the District Assemblies and Local Traditional Authorities. For a typical land registration in most parts of Ghana, a client must deal with the four divisions of the NLC-Ghana who execute separate functions in the land registration process, but with indirect encounters with external agencies such as the TCPD and the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL). Land registration can involve a stool (skin) land, state land, family lands, or private lands. The registration process can either end with a registered deed or registered land title.

Figure 16.1 illustrates the general processes an indenture involving stool, state, family, or private land is taken through either a deed or title registration. The land registration process (see

The process of land registration in Ghana

FIGURE 16.1 The process of land registration in Ghana.

Figure 16.1) for a stool land commences with preparation of a cadastral site plan once a land transaction is affected between a stool and a purchaser of land, mostly evidenced by an allocation note. With an approved site plan by the director of surveys at SMD, an indenture is then prepared, executed, and submitted by the applicant to PVLMD for consent and concurrence. The next stage of the process is that the indenture goes to LVD for stamp duty assessment and stamping. The stamped indenture is then submitted to LRD (deeds registry for deed registration or Land Title Registry (LTR) for title registration). Aside these processes, some indentures before their registration require planning comments from the TCPD. After registration of a stool land, responsibility is transferred to OASL to assess and collect annual ground rent on the registered land, which requires ownership information from the other land sector agencies. It can be observed that the registration of land title with stool land is very complex because of the concurrence element required by law. Within the LTR itself, the process is saddled with duplications and filing challenges. Filing systems within the LTR is very poor without clear procedures for the management of data stored from applications received. The office arrangement of receiving and processing applications is confusing within the organization. The first office an applicant encounters is the lodgment unit, and not reception.

At some point in the process, applicants are either asked to send a search request form to the PVLMD or to SMD for parcel/cadastral plan. Upon completion of the services, however, the LTR designated officer goes to the PVLMD and the SMD for the information. The rationale for requesting the applicant to send the requests and not be the one to go for the same information establishes the lack of customer-focused processes in the land title registration regime. The process also breeds extortion and illegal payments from the applicants. Sometimes the public have confused the issuance of “yellow card” from the LTR to mean the acceptance and clearance for a title certificate. This phenomenon is as a result of the low levels of public education on the land process. It was observed that the LTR has no standard template for the preparation of draft certificates, which would have the capacity to make printing faster and easier. The LTR currently uses PowerPoint for printing draft certificates and therefore has no soft copies of previous files from about ten years ago. The bottlenecks of land registration were generally traced to functions or processes beyond the LTR. However, some aspects of the registry’s working processes, such as printing and file tracking, as well as plotting, could be streamlined. It is unclear why the registry undertakes plotting when it is the SMD which does the printing and plotting of plans too. Within the two agencies, one process could be agreed upon and strengthened.

The Land Registration Process in Kenya

In the case of Kenya, land registration can be done by obtaining either as a title or a deed. The agencies involved in this process are the National Land Commission (NLC-Kenya), the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning (MoLPP), and the County Government. These agencies have their mandates drawn from the National Land Policy of 2009, thet Constitution of Kenya 2010, he National Land Commission Act 2012, the Land Act 2012, and the Land Registration Act of 2012 (Institution of Surveyors of Kenya, 2019). Among their numerous functions, the NLC is responsible for managing public land on behalf of the National and County Governments. On the other hand, the MoLPP is responsible for managing private land on behalf of the National Government while the County Government manages community land.

There are various ways through which land can be acquired in Kenya. According to the Land Act 2012, title to land can be acquired in Kenya, through: land adjudication process; compulsory acquisition; allocation; prescription; settlement programs; transmissions; transfers; long-term leases exceeding 21 years created out of private land; or any other manner prescribed in an Act of Parliament. From Figure 16.2, it shows a transfer process of acquisition (through to registration) of land through purchase. This is an example of a land registration process that involves various agencies. For example, the Director of Physical Planning under MoLPP is the principal responsible head

The process of land registration in Ghana

FIGURE 16.2 The process of land registration in Ghana.

for the effective and efficient implementation and maintenance of the procedure, while the county government is the initiator of the process through their elected leaders who identify a piece of land and request NLC to settle the landless there.

Land Registration in Ghana and Kenya is Based on a Mix of Inter-Agency Collaboration Models

An important question that arises is what model of collaboration drives the land registration process in Ghana and Kenya? In both Kenya and Ghana, the different agencies involved in the land registration exercise tend to have adopted a mix of three (out of four) of Atkinson et al.’s (2002) typology of inter-agency collaboration models, comprising decision-making groups, center-based delivery, coordinated delivery, and operational team delivery models. This is the situation because the various agencies have a strong focus on exercising operational independence in their various roles in the land registration process. However, they have not embraced the consultation and training model (a model that engages professionals from one agency to enhance the expertise of those from another agency at the operational level). The land registration operations in Ghana and Kenya are based on an unconscious mix of inter-agency collaboration models that exclude the consultation and training model.

The application or practice of inter-agency collaboration models in both countries have been identified as unconscious, because they are not based on any organizational policy of these agencies in both Ghana and Kenya. It has consequences on how the realities relate to the theory of interagency collaborations these countries. This manifests mostly in the lack of data standardization and integration, lack of data-sharing, duplications of roles, overlaps, and conflicts in the functions and business processes concerning land registration and related functions. In both countries, even though the level of cordiality among the agencies is good and encourages collaborative activities, some functions and activities result in conflicts and overlaps among and within the land sector agencies.

The State of Theory versus Reality in Inter-Agency Collaborations in Ghana and Kenya

Concerning the reality of inter-agency collaboration among land sector agencies in Ghana and Kenya, the situation has been presented in Table 16.2 in comparison to the theory presented in Table 16.1. Hence, Table 16.2 summarizes the research findings on how land sector agencies in Ghana and Kenya fare (in reality) in relation to good practice indicators of inter-agency collaboration in land registration.

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