The Ghana Police Service is the latest to dispel claims that it engaged the services of a notorious land guard to reclaim and protect its property.
In a release issued on Monday, July 17 the service noted that “this claim is, false baseless and unfounded, and should be treated with the contempt it deserves.”
According to them, the “Police Service has not on any occasion engaged the services of land guards to reclaim or protect its lands.”
It noted that on the contrary, the Service has in recent times intensified its anti-land guard operations in communities affected by the activities of these land guards.
They added that the renewed effort will not stop until perpetrators of such illegal activities are brought to justice.
“We wish to assure the public that the Police Service working in partnership with other security agencies, remains committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring public safety and security at all times; and we will continue to count on the support of the good people of Ghana in this regard,” portions of the statement pointed out.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Prof Patrick Agbesinyale, on Monday, July 10, during a meeting with Parliament’s Lands and Forestry Committee, reportedly alleged that government engaged the service of a land guard to retrieve and protect encroached state lands.
The Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service were both accused of hiring a notorious land guard popularly known as ‘Gyato’ to reclaim their lands that have been encroached.
Prof Patrick Agbesinyale said the security agencies then apportion parts of the reclaimed lands to the land guard as payment his work. ‘Gyato’ allegedly carries out similar activities for the government according to Prof Agbesinyale.
“So, he [Gyato] recently reclaimed some lands for us and out of that land, we gave him 50 of 6,000 acres as payment for all his expenses. So he has the right to and sell that 50. If he is selling it, there is noise all over the place.”
“He doesn’t even sell it. He gives it out for people to develop so that he gets his share. I can give you a tall list of lands that Gyato (land guard) has claimed for us to the extent that even the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service their lands that have been encroached they hire Gyato to reclaim for them,” he claimed.
According to him, the decision not to use the police or the military in protecting and reclaiming lands was to avoid public backlash.
“I think the idea was that anytime the government apparatus; the police, military among others are seen going out there to claim lands, you know the hullabaloo and backlash the government receives.”
“So, what they do is that you would set up somebody like this and the government would literally be hiding behind it so he can reclaim government lands.”
This is in spite of the passage of the Vigilantism and Related Offenses Act, 2019(Act, 999) which clearly criminalises such activities.
However, the government through the Lands Ministry, as well as the Ghana Armed Forces, have all denied the claims.