The Lands Commission has interdicted 14 of its staff members for their involvement in a stamp duty fraud.

The fraud was discovered by the audit unit of the Commission in May 2022, after it noticed discrepancies in the tax figures paid by property owners for the registration of their properties.

The fraudulent activities are alleged to have caused a staggering GH¢100 million tax loss.

The affected staff members are now facing court proceedings led by the National Investigations Bureau (NIB), according to report carried by GNA.

Benjamin Arthur, the acting executive secretary of the Commission, made the announcement during the executive secretary’s annual briefing and the launching of the Staff Awards Scheme in Accra on Friday.

He also revealed that the Commission has conducted internal disciplinary action against the suspects and is in the final stages of determining their fate within the Commission.

Further investigations carried out by the Commission revealed that the initial tax loss amount was exaggerated. Additionally, disciplinary procedures are being initiated against other Commission staff for fraudulent deletion and insertion of records, with the intention of producing false search reports.

Arthur emphasised that while job security would be upheld, the Commission would not condone acts of indiscipline and fraud.

“Therefore, management will provide the state investigation bodies with the required assistance to weed out the bad nuts among us,” he said.

The event also witnessed the unveiling of the Commission’s five-year Business Strategic Plan for the period 2023-2027.

The plan outlines goals such as enhancing the Commission’s financial sustainability, digital reforms, and corporate image, as well as improving the competence and discipline of its staff to enhance service delivery.

Arthur highlighted the importance of public awareness regarding the Commission’s mandate, service delivery processes, fees, and digital reform platforms.

He explained that such knowledge would boost the Commission’s corporate image and restore public trust and confidence in its operations.

Recognizing that the Commission has often been depicted negatively in media reports, Arthur emphasized the need to correct misconceptions and create a positive corporate image.

He underlined the importance of improving service delivery to the public as a key component of this campaign.

Benito Owusu-Bio, a deputy minister of Lands and Natural Resources, expressed confidence in the Commission’s leadership and its efforts to transform land administration activities through digitalization.

He also praised the upcoming completion of the new head office of the Lands Commission, which is set to be commissioned in April this year.

Owusu-Bio believed that the Commission was headed in the right direction and predicted that Ghanaians would soon recognize its credibility and efficiency.

The Lands Commission’s commitment to tackling fraud and improving its public image demonstrates its determination to restore trust and confidence in its operations.

With internal disciplinary action being taken and assistance provided to state investigation bodies, steps are being taken to eliminate any corrupt practices within the Commission.