President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has signed into law the “Act Against Criminal Conveyance of Land” after its passage by both Houses of the National Legislature.
The Act was signed by President Sirleaf on August 26, 2014 after it passed by the both Houses on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 and Monday, September 3, 2014 respectively.
The Act Against Criminal Conveyance of Land, published into Handbills by authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is an amendment of Chapter 15 Subchapter B, Section 15.21 of the Penal Law of Liberia.
The Criminal Conveyance of Land Law states that a surveyor who encourages, persuades, surveys, uses his influence or in any other way participates or conspires with anyone in the sale or purchase of a parcel of land, knowing or being in the position to know that the seller of such land has no lawful title is guilty of a first degree felony punishable by both a fine, a prison term of not less than ten years and a permanent renovation of his license to practice as a surveyor.
The law also points out that a surveyor who surveys a land without a notice to all adjoining property owners, consistent with existing law, regulation or executive order or procedure, is guilty of a felony of the third degree.
The Law further states that a person guilty of a second degree felony is given a prison term of not more than five years and made to restitute an amount equal to double the gain received from the criminal conveyance of land, for the first offense while a person guilty of criminal conveyance for the second time be given a mandatory five year prison term and required to restitute the amount equal to double the gain received from the criminal conveyance of land.
The Law states that a person guilty of criminal conveyance of land shall face a felony of the second degree while a person is guilty of third degree felony if he or she purchases a parcel of land knowingly or have reason to know that the land does not belong to the seller or is being criminally conveyed.
A person guilty of third degree felony under this Law shall be punished by both a fine to be determined by the Court, the maximum which shall not be more than double the gain, and a prison term of not more than three years.
The Law mandates that any official of government including traditional, local and national leaders or any person holding a powerful position who abuses said authority to unduly influence or compel an individual or group of individuals to wrongfully convey a parcel of land or any portion of land is guilty of a felony of the second degree.
The Act Against Criminal Conveyance of Land was formulated by the Land Commission as part of strapping efforts to ensure a comprehensive control, sale and use of land across the country.
The Land Commission believes that this Law will minimize the numerous land disputes in the country and promote peace, stability, harmony, unity and national reconciliation as well as economic growth and development.