‘Use of Tribal Certificate as Land Deed Illegal’

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Dr. Brandy (right) answering to questions from the residents in Nyehn Township.jpg

The Chairman of the Land Commission (LC), Dr. Cecil Brandy, is calling on all those who are said to be issuing tribal certificates to desist.

Dr. Brandy also warned those that are buying and selling public land using tribal certificates to stop what he referred to as, illegal land transaction.

He said tribal certificate is not a deed and therefore it should not be used as a means to transfer land ownership.  

Chairman Brandy pointed out that the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, placed a moratorium on the sale of public land in 2010 and called on those responsible for the issuance of tribal certificates to stop until the moratorium is lifted. 

Dr. Brandy was speaking Monday in Nyehn Clan, Todee district, where he had gone to discuss land matters that are posing threats to peace and security in Todee district.

Dr. Brandy's visit to Todee District stemmed from several complaints from the citizens of the area about illegal land sale and land grabbing by some elites who are said to be obtaining tribal certificates in spite of the moratorium on public land sale.

He told the chiefs and elders not to issue any tribal certificate in light of the moratorium.  Any tribal certificate that has been issued during the period of the moratorium will be considered null and void, and the land will return to the communities.

During the discussions, Dr. Brandy informed the residents that the Land Commission will commence a national inventory of tribal certificates in January 2014. By this inventory, the Commission will be scanning, recording and authenticating the tribal certificates. 

Where possible, the Land Commission will assist those in possession of tribal certificates to process them into title deeds, the Chairman assured the community residents.

A youth representative, Jerome Nuquay asked whether chiefs are the only ones responsible to issue tribal certificates.  Responding, Dr. Brandy said under the Land Rights Policy a legal entity will be established by the community residents, comprising chiefs, elders, women, youth and civil society representatives to manage their land and other natural resources.

The meeting in Nyehn Clan was fully represented by chiefs, elders, youth and women groups, eminent citizens and district authorities.

In a related development, the Land Commission will also conduct town hall meetings in every district and county headquarters on the Land Rights Policy and law reform process beginning January 2014.

The Land Rights Policy establishes a distinct category of customary land rights for the first time, along with existing categories of Private, Public, and Government land rights. 

Each of the Commissioners of the Land Commission will engage the communities in their counties of oversight and explain in the simplest manner the customary land recognition under the Land Rights Policy.

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