A Bill seeking to criminalize sellers and surveyors of lands sold to multiple buyers has been submitted to the National Legislature, endorsed by the Executive Branch, passed by the Senate and now lingers in the House of Representatives.
The Criminal Conveyance Bill that was designed by the Liberian Land Commission seeks a means of deterring criminals from selling a parcel of land to several different buyers.
The Bill which has been deemed ‘crucial’ in many quarters of the Liberian society is expected to set the stage for tougher penalties for the old aged problem that land buyers have been involved in or are victims of.
Many Liberians have used several media outlets in trying to ensure that this Bill finds a smooth sailing into law by the Legislature, and now that the Senate has found basis of passing, the Bill now lingers in the House without any sign of being ratified.
Carter Smith, a victim of multiple land sales told this paper that in 2005 he bought a parcel of land in the Brewerville area by a man who at the time seemed genuine; only to find out that some years earlier he had sold the identical land to someone else.
Now Mr. Smith is involved in a court case that has been going on for years in trying to obtain retribution for his expenses.
Too many times in Liberia, land buyers are being duped by land owners or administrators, who use the urgency trying to get land by Liberians here and abroad as a means to trick buyers into buying property that has already been sold.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) who after consultations with Liberians across the country named land conflicts as one of the major stumbling blocks for the country to reach lasting peace.
Through the TRC’s recommendation the Government of Liberia launched the Land Commission in 2010, giving the Commission the mandate to refine the laws into developing a policy that would curtail the land problem in the country.
Headed by Dr. Cecil Brandy, the Commission has developed a Land Rights Policy and has also introduced the Criminal Conveyance Bill that now lingers in the House.