Vested lands emerge where the state takes over the legal incident of ownership from the customary owners of a land and hold the land in trust for the land owning community.
The legal incident of ownership includes the right to sell, lease, manage and collect rents as customary owners of the land. Another name for Vested lands is split ownership.
The state’s power of eminent domain has been exercised since colonial times under various enactments. The objective of this power has been in pursuit of the socio-economic development for the public good.
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Under the Ghana Land Administration Project, policy proposals are to be developed to deal with the outstanding issues of compulsory acquisition and make proposals to guide future compulsory acquisitions.
Eminent domain refers to the power possessed by the state over all property within the state, specifically the power to appropriate private property for public use.
Government therefore has the right of compulsory land acquisition, with compensation for the boarder public service.
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All lands are owned by customary institutions and the state can access the land principally through the invocation of powers of eminent domain.
Such powers have been used with extensively with several undesirable outcomes including massive encroachments, unpaid compensations, change of use acquired lands as against the purpose of acquisiton, divestiture state enterprises to private entities.
In Ghana, land is predominantly owned by customary authorities. These authorities include stools, skins, clans and families.
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These authorities own 78% of lands while the state owns 20% of the lands. The remaining 2% is owned by both the state and customary authorities as paid partnerships.