-From real estate administrators
The Liberia Land Authority denies receiving US$10,000 from the administrators of the Barbour, Kpawee, Ballah, and Flee Nappy Estate in Paynesville to conduct an investigative survey on their land, contrary to claim by the administrators.
An investigative land survey scheduled to have taken place on 23 October by the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) on behalf of the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) was aborted by the administrators of the mentioned estate on grounds that the LLA delayed in surveying over seven hundred acres of land that belong to them.
The land in question is situated in Omega community where the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) claims it has at least four hundred acres of ancestors’ land in the same vicinity.
This writer who went on the scene named participating government agencies involved with the process as Liberia Land Authority (LLA), National Housing Authority (NHA), Paynesville City Corporation (PCC)), and Dr. Edward Liberty, among others.
Addressing reporters, the administrators of the Barbour, Kpawee, Ballah, Flee, and Nappy Estate, Messer Nathaniel S. Ballah and Willaim Whergar, Town Chief of Norvelant Town respectively alleged that the LLA requested from them US$10,000 as their (estate administrators’) share of the survey fees with anticipation that the Land Authority would have conducted the survey, which it failed to do.
According to both Ballah and Whergar, while awaiting the LLA to carry out the survey, the Paynesville City Corporation requested the LLA to, on the same day [October 23, 2020] conduct another survey on four hundred and fifty-three (453) acres of land situated in the Omega Market area for government development purposes.
They said the action of the Paynesville City Corporation constrained them to file a lawsuit against the PCC before the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice on the matter.
The estate administrators explained the Civil Law Court made several assignments of the case, but lawyer representing the PCC failed to appear in court.
According to them, while the matter is still in court, the PCC without any authorization from the Civil Law Court which has jurisdiction over the case, took its representatives along with representatives from the LLA, NHA and others to the site of their land to conduct what they referred to as an ‘Investigative Survey’.
They recalled that while their ancestors were alive, the Government of Liberia in 1973 asked the parties involved to allow the government survey potion of their land for the Omega Towel construction project.
The administrators added the government then informed their ancestors the land to be developed will be used for a short-time after which it would be returned to them, but that was never the case.
They said without consultation, the Paynesville City Corporation continue to invade their land, claiming ownership of potion of the land, including Dr. Edward Liberty, who’s also making claim.
Ballah and Whergar disclosed the land on which the 14 Omega General Market is constructed forms part of their inheritance, adding that when the land was acquired, the government at the time surveyed it in 1951.
They clarified that while they are not against development by the government, equally so, they expect the Paynesville City Corporation to also respect their rights as people in possession of the Mother Deed for the entire land in question thus, aborting the scheduled survey.
The administrators maintained they could not allow such investigative survey to go ahead in the absence of a ruling into the matter by the Civil Law Court especially, at the time when the LLA that is responsible for land in the country is showing less interest in conducting the survey on their behalf for which they allegedly paid US$10,000.
At the same time they claimed Dr. Edward Liberty, who was also present for the survey said the Government of Liberia (GOL) had given him a potion of the land, as compensation for services he rendered to the State.
When technical representatives of the Liberia Land Authority, the Paynesville City Corporation, the National Housing Authority and Dr. Edward Liberty were contacted for their respective comments on the matter, they were tightlipped.
When the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) Public Relations Department was also contacted over the weekend, our reporter was informed that the PRO office was close.
However, the Public Relations Officer at the LLA Kweshie G. Tetteh refuted claim by the estate administrators of paying US$10, 000 to the Land Authority for survey.
Mr. Tetteh explained that considering various processes leading to a land survey, including cost for publication of Survey Notice and distribution of copies to parties involved, among others, the Liberia Land Authority received the sum of US$3000.00 (Three Thousand United States Dollars) instead, from the estate administrators.
He said the LLA would never charge such an amount to survey a land, adding that it is the responsibility of the institution to ensure there exists harmony between parties to land dispute, so it would conduct the OMERGA land administrators’ survey, pending decision from the court, appealing to them to exercise patience.
By Emmanuel Mondaye–Editing by Jonathan Browne