Legal Dilemma: Can a Professional Head be the Director of Surveys & Lands at the Same Time?

By Amin Kef (Ranger)
There seems to be a legal dilemma related to a situation in which the current Director of Surveys and Lands in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Tamba S. Dauda, who was recently promoted to a Professional Head still continues to occupy the Directorship position in that entity, an anomaly which should be addressed if best practice is to be followed.

The Surveys and Lands Division within the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning is primarily responsible for surveying and mapping out all lands as well as for administrating State lands. This important division is also delegated with the responsibility of supervising all Licensed Surveyors besides approving all survey plans for State and Private Lands.

It therefore goes without saying that the aforementioned division forms an integral or an important component of the Ministry of Lands as it is laden with statutory responsibilities that are mainly related to the allocation of lands to individuals and entities. Against such a backdrop, it is significant that it should be occupied by the requisite personnel of high integrity.

Tamba S. Dauda, with Pin Code No 108114, is the Director of Surveys and Lands in the Ministry of Lands since he was appointed in 2021. However, he was recently elevated to a higher position when he was promoted to Grade 12 by the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO). As of now he has attained the status of Professional Head in the Civil Service.

It must be pointed out that now that he has been promoted to Grade 12 automatically he has been rendered ineligible to continue to serve in the capacity as the Director of Surveys and Lands. This is so because according to the provisions of the Surveys Ordinance, Cap 128, the positions of Director, Deputy Director and Assistant Directors must only be occupied by Civil Servants within the Grade 11 bracket of the Civil Service and not Grade 12.

Of significance to note is that in the Civil Service any personnel who attains a Grade 12 status automatically becomes a Professional Head. However, in the Ministry of Lands, with particular reference to the Surveys and Lands Department, there is no provision for a Professional Head as it is only in Ministries like Works, Social Welfare that there are positions for Professional Heads.

It must be reiterated that within the Department of Surveys and Lands the only positions are those for Director of Surveys and Lands, Deputy Director, Assistant Directors and Senior Officers. There has never been a Professional Head within the Surveys and Lands Department of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning.

The big question now been asked is: why is it that he is still occupying the position as Director of Lands and Survey in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning when he has been elevated to a Professional Head?

Legally speaking, from the time Tamba Dauda was promoted he ceases to be the Director of Surveys and Lands. It therefore means that the position of Director of Surveys and Lands has now become vacant. However, that does not seem to be the case as Tamba Dauda still continues to be the substantive Director in that department of the Ministry.

For him to continue occupying the position of Director when he has been elevated to a Professional Head is a travesty of the Lands and Surveys legal provision and has been interpreted as a bad precedent.

From what this medium learnt, based on the provision in Public Service Act, a Professional Head is responsible to supervise Directors in some Ministries.

The questions now asked are: how can Tamba Dauda be a Professional Head and Director at the same time? Is it that he supervising himself?

When this medium made attempts to contact Tamba Dauda to throw light on the aforementioned situation it proved futile as he failed to respond to calls and messages that were put through to him. However, this medium will continue to monitor the situation and report accordingly.

More on this in subsequent Editions…


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