A few days into the mounting controversy over the acquisition of state lands by government officials, and the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Dr. Wordsworth Odame Larbi, has been sacked for unknown reasons.
Sources from the Lands Commission told DAILY GUIDE that the letter for the termination of Dr Odame Larbi‚Äôs appointment came from the President‚Äôs Office.
Indeed, the top hierarchy of the Commission is appointed directly by the President.
Dr. Odame Larbi has confirmed the receipt of his dismissal letter, but kept the reasons surrounding his unexpected matching off order under wraps.
It is believed that Anim Odame, a top executive at the Commission, would be the acting Executive Secretary now.
The dismissed Lands boss was the main land management expert on the popular Land Administration Project (LAP) initiated several years ago by the Kufuor administration to properly streamline land tenure and acquisition systems in the country. His stewardship at LAP earned him the priced job at the Lands Commission.
His dismissal has given rise to varied speculations, including the fact that the government might have let go of the expert to give way to cronies to take over the controversial land issues, especially in the capital, Accra.
The specific policy change is obviously the Accra Redevelopment and In-filling scheme that has afforded government officials and their cronies unbridled access to government lands.
DAILY GUIDE has gathered that the Mills government is planning to scrap that policy to prevent abuse from government appointees, especially in the face of the executive fiat used in blocking the acquisition made by Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, a former minister in the Kufuor administration.
There are reports that the main beneficiaries of cheap government lands are members of both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the erstwhile government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The Accra Redevelopment Scheme is part of a strategic plan initiated in 1992 with support from the United Nations Commission for Human Settlement (HABITAT).
It became an enshrined policy in 1995 during the reign of ex-President Jerry John Rawlings of the NDC.
The scheme was designed to afford individuals and corporate bodies the opportunity to acquire parcels of lands to transform the central area of Accra into a modern and urban landscape.
The call for the scrapping of the scheme has come to the fore because of a clash of ideals between the government and the Supreme Court.
Recently, the Supreme Court overturned a writ filed by deputy Minister of Information Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and his colleague at the sports Ministry, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, who were seeking the court to nullify the purchase of a parcel of land by Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey.
According to the complainants, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey abused his office in acquiring the property.
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 against the complainants because they could not back their claims with hard evidence.
The cabinet of the Atta Mills government however met and decided to withhold the property from Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey despite the Supreme Court ruling.
¬†By Raphael Adeniran