‘Tribal Certificates Are Legal Documents’

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Two Commissioners of the Land Commission have told local leaders not to be frightened to bring forth their tribal certificates to the Land Commission for recording as the tribal certificates are legal documents as compared to any other land documents.

Commissioners Estelle Kuyon Liberty, who has oversight responsibility on land policy and programs for Grand Bassa and Bong Counties, and Suzanna G. Vaye with oversight duty of outreach and education, made the assertion in Gbarnga over the weekend when the Land Commission (LC) launched its Tribal Certificates Inventory Project. It is an exercise that will record, scan and validate all tribal certificates.

The first phase of the Tribal Certificates Inventory Project will benefit four counties,  Bong, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Monsterrado.

The two Commissioners informed the audience that tribal certificates are legal, on grounds  that they are signed by tribal authorities and issued by the County Land Commissioner under the 1956 and 1973 Public Land Sale Laws, certifying the accord of the community to the sale or transfer of land in customary societies.

They explained to the that gathering the objectives of the exercise are to gather information on the total number of tribal certificates distributed over the years that will assist the Commission to establish a database on existing tribal certificates in the four counties; to analyze information generated that will enhance the Commission’s land administration policy and law formulation process; and to strengthen national land rights records management and registration systems in rural areas through the inventory of all lands under tribal certificates.

Commissioners Liberty and Vaye narrated that during the inventory exercise, which will take place in the four counties; tribal certificate owners will display their certificates to an inventory team for recording and scanning before being stamped with a number.

They explained that the Tribal Certificate Inventory Project is the first step in a process and is intended to afford Liberians,  particularly the tribal people, the opportunity to finally secure title to land that they have laid claim to over the years by translating their tribal certificates into deeds.

They indicated that all relevant documents will be returned to the appropriate owners after all vital information is  obtained and recorded by the LC. 

Speaking earlier at the launch of the Land Commission’s Tribal Certificates Inventory Project, Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappy lauded the LC and its partners for the exercise and said the program will help to minimize and manage land conflict in the various communities.

Superintendent Mappy told the LC authorities that the exercise will also assist government to establish appropriate land ownership programs in the country.  She  pledged her county’s  unflinching support to the project.

She encouraged the tribal people to bring forward their tribal certificates during the days of the inventory process so that their tribal certificates may  be recorded and deeded in subsequent  times.

The Land Commission was established in 2009 by the Government of Liberia and charged with the responsibility to formulate land policy and land law reform in the country.

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