Under Ghanaian Law, land in Ghana may be held by families, stools or sub-stools or the government, which may grant various types of interests in land. Registration of interests in land is a legal requirement and may be done under the Land Registry Act, 1962 (Act 122) or the Land Title Registration Act 1986 (PNDCL 152) after an area has been declared a registration district under PNDCL 152. Currently only the Greater Accra Region and some parts of the Ashanti Region are registration districts. For the rest of the country, the applicable law for the registration of land is Act 122. The governmental institution that deals with the registration of lands is the Lands Commission which has a number of Divisions. The office of the Lands Commission was established by Article 258 of the 1992 Constitution and the Lands Commission Act, 2008 (Act 767).
First Registration of Lands
For first registration of land, after the deed of transfer of interest has been granted, a stamp duty is paid. The assessment of the stamp duty according to section 22 of Act 767 is the function of the Land Valuation Division. This is essential to the registration process. A bar code to go with the site plan, is then applied for from the Survey and Mapping Division after which it is lodged for registration at the Client Service and Access Unit (CSAU), and an acknowledgment slip is given to the grantee. Formerly, a yellow card was given instead. This yellow card is however still given in certain areas. The file is then sent back to the Land Registration Division who will write to the Public and Vested Lands Management Division (PVLMD) to conduct a search and other administrative due diligence to ensure that there are no irregularities with the registration. This is followed by a letter to the Survey and Mapping Division to prepare the plan. There is then a publication of the grant and a certificate is issued to the grantee.
Subsequent Registration of Lands
After the first registration, a grant can be made by the holder of the Land Certificate to transfer whole or part of an interest in the land. where the transfer is in respect of the whole land or an interest in a portion of land. A stamp duty is paid. In the case of transfer of portion of land, the grantee may need a bar code to go with the plan after which the transfer document will be lodged at CSAU and acknowledgment slip given. The file is then taken to the Land Registry to conduct due diligence. There is no publication in subsequent registration. After due diligence is done, a letter is sent to the Survey Division for a plan covering the portion to be transferred. The file is then sent to the Land Registration Division for finalization of the process.
Interest in family land may be granted by the head of family with the consent of the principal members of the family. After the deed transferring interest in family land has been executed by the appropriate head of family with the consent of the principal members, the document (instrument) is to go through the process of registration as explained above.
The duty to manage State Lands has been assigned to the Public and Vested Lands Division of the Lands Commission. They do so in conformity with approved land use plans. Thus, the granting of deeds for state lands is the duty of this division, the stamp duty is then paid, and the file then goes through the process of first registration discussed above, where the grant is an assignment, the consent of the PVLMD is required. Planning report and approval is then obtained from the zonal authority. Where the grantor does not have a certificate, after the PCLMD has consented and done the plotting of the land, the file goes through the process of first registration.
Article 295 of the Constitution provides that “stool land includes any land or interest in, or right over, any land controlled by a stool or skin, the head of a particular community or the captain of a company, for the benefit of the subjects of that Stool or the members of that community or company.” After a grantee receives a lease from the stool, the concurrence of the PVLMD is obtained and the file goes through the process of first registration. It is essential to the validity of the lease that the lease is obtained from the right title holder of the land. Where the grant is assignment of stool land from one person (be it natural or artificial) to another, the consent of the stool as well as the concurrence of the PVLMD must be obtained. Town and Country Planning then approves and the file undergoes first registration.