Lands Commission interdicts staff over stamp duty fraud
The Lands Commission has interdicted 14 staff members for their involvement in Stamp Duty fraud.
The Stamp Duty fraud was detected in May 2022 when the Audit Unit of the Commission realised tax figures paid by some property owners for the registration of their properties failed to reflect the expected tax amount.
The fraud resulted in an alleged GH¢100 million tax loss.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Commission, Benjamin Arthur announced this during the annual briefing and Staff Awards Scheme launch in Accra on Friday, February 2, 2024.
Further investigations revealed an exaggeration in the initial amount.
Mr Arthur stated that the Commission had taken internal disciplinary action, with final processes underway to determine the fate of the implicated individuals.
He explained that the commission was also undergoing disciplinary procedures against some staff for fraudulent deletion and insertion of records, producing false search reports.
Mr Arthur emphasised that while management ensures job security, acts of indiscipline and fraud will not be condoned.
“It is important to state that while management will continue to provide the required job security for staff, such acts of indiscipline and fraud will not be condoned,” he added.
He noted the commission commitment to providing state investigation bodies with necessary assistance to eliminate misconduct.
“Therefore, management will provide the state investigation bodies with the required assistance to weed out the bad nuts among us”, he said.
The event marked the launch of a five-year Business Strategic Plan (2023-2027) focusing on financial sustainability, digital reforms, corporate image enhancement, and staff competence and discipline for improved service delivery.
The strategic plan aims to create public awareness of the Commission's mandate, service delivery processes, fees, and digital reform platforms.
The campaign, he said was intended to enhance the commission's corporate image, public trust, and confidence in its operations.
The outreach initiative aims to correct misconceptions and highlight the positive contributions of the Commission.
The Acting Executive Secretary emphasised that corporate image redemption relies on improvements in service delivery.
Mr Arthur, therefore called for teamwork among staff and management which is crucial for achieving desired outcomes.
“In Ghana, workers of the Lands Commission are perceived as taking the “biggest bribes,” and other media reports on the performance of the Commission often focused on our shortcomings, while little is reported on the efforts and good works of the Commission
The very hard works of most staff are drowned by the wrongs of the few. Most people are not well-informed about our operations and the role of the Commission in the land space,” Mr. Arthur observed.
A Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio outlined the ministry's plans, including digital transformation, completing the new Lands Commission's head office in April, and enhancing the commission's corporate image.
He expressed confidence in the commission's leadership and believed in its credibility and efficiency, anticipating support from Ghanaians.
“Ghanaians will overwhelmingly vouch for the credibility and efficiency of the Commission sooner or later,” he said.