Liberia: Rep. Tarponweh Accuses Probate Courts of Legitimizing Illegal Land Sales in Constituent

Rep. Tibelrosa Summoh Tarponweh (District #1, Margibi County) said Probate Courts’ action of probating one parcel of land for multiple owners undermines the peace and serenity of his district and called on the Judiciary to intervene.

Duazon, Margibi County – Representative Tibelrosa Tarponweh (CDC, District #1, Margibi County) has blamed the probate courts of legitimizing illegal land sale in his constituent by probating one parcel of land for multiple owners.

Rep. Tarponweh said the action of the courts is a potential for conflict and undermines the peace and serenity of the district and called on the Judiciary to intervene.

He made the comments while delivering his second annual legislative report in Duazon, Margibi County recently.

According to him, his district which lies between Paynesville and Unification Town in Margibi County, is a developing constituent and comes with the demand for the acquisition of land and real property.

However, with this rush for land, some individuals are preying upon peaceful citizens in a wide ranging land syndicate that can only be described as criminal. 

His office, he said, respects the rights of legitimate land owners and administrators and will always defend their rights of ownership.

“However, People who do not own land should not sell land, and those who own land should not sell a parcel of land to more than one person or persons. To do that will be a recipe for chaos,” he cautioned.

“Let me add also that Probate Courts are legitimizing illegal Land transactions by probating one Parcel of Land for multiple owners. This is again wrong and the Judiciary branch of Government must take steps to stop this illegal act.”

Recently, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor expressed concern over the rampant illegal sales of land in the country and warned that the land crisis will threatened national security if it is left unattended.

“I could not agree more with what the Chief Justice said. I believe that as Government Officials, our words should be backed by action. And there is no other place that action could be found other than the Judiciary,” Rep. Tarponweh noted.

Land conflict has been singled out as one of the major threats to the peace and security of post-war Liberia.

Common causes of land disputes include the double sale of land and illegal possession and encroachment of private and public properties.

‘An act Against Criminal Conveyance’ or double sale of land was passed in 2014, and despite hefty legal punishment against perpetrators of these acts, they continue to be widely practiced.

In 2019, Rep. Tarponweh accused the Land Commissioner of Margibi County, Joe Dorah of illegal land sales in Margibi County District #1.

However, Dorah’s office denied Rep. Tarponweh’s allegations and termed them as “false and misleading.”

In his annual report, Rep. Tarponweh said during the year under review, his office was inundated with complaints of illegal land sales by the office of the Land Commissioner of Margibi County.

According to him, his office investigated and found many of those complaints to be true, some of which were public land being encroached upon, especially the Eco-Home Village and the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Estate in Ben’s Town.

“It is bad enough for private Citizen to engage in illegal Land sales but it is worst when an individual acting as Agent of Government who should be resolving land disputes is deeply involved into this dangerous act of deception and corruption,” he denounced.

Speaking further, the Margibi County District #2 lawmaker noted that he has informed the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) with all documentary evidence attached and requested further investigation and action.

Copies of that investigation, he said were sent to the office of the President and Ministries of Justice and Internal Affairs, and vowed “not to rest until justice is done in these matters.”