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The Tigray Interim Administration has nullified all property transactions that took place in the Regional State in the three years following the outbreak of war in November 2020.

A directive invalidating property deals became effective at the start of the Ethiopian New Year, but implementation began this month. Getachew Reda, president of the Administration, signed the directive which renders land transactions between November 2020 and September 2023 null and void.

The ‘Tigray Region property and mines operationalization regulation’ became effective on 15 September 2023.

Construction on hundreds of residential buildings commenced, particularly in and around Mekelle, following the outbreak of war in 2020, according to The Reporter’s sources, forcing the Interim Administration to introduce the legislation.

The regional Land and Mines Bureau will not accept any lease documentation for transactions completed during the period specified in the directive.

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However, certain property dealings in the regional capital Mekelle are exempt under special conditions.

Officials say there is a need for legislation to deal with the extent of fraudulent dealings and corruption damages incurred on property during the lifespan of the conflict. They hope the new laws will help them reorganize the land administration system with accountability.

Land administration services in Tigray had been suspended until the introduction of the new directive.

The Bureau is in charge of validating and documenting urban and rural property ownership deeds, and transactions completed before the war. Its land administration service revamp’s first order of business is to begin providing services to those who already held ownership titles before the outbreak of war.

The Bureau is also responsible for reviewing and validating winning bids for land lease auctions that were interrupted by the war, as well as the distribution of property to veterans with disabilities.

Regional officials hope to recoup three years’ worth of accumulated lease, tax, royalty, and rental land payments, while administrative fines and interest accrued over the same period have been waived.

The directive also stipulates the formation of a task force to oversee legal proceedings against squatters and hold those engaged in illicit property dealings responsible.

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