The Accra Land Court 3 has refused an injunction application filed by one Iddrisu Tettey Mansro and two others to restrain the Appolonia Development Company (ADC) from undertaking an estate development project at Appolonia in the Kpone-Katamanso district.
The ADC, which is a private company, has acquired about 2,000 acres of land in the town to develop it into a modern city to be called City of Light, in partnership with the Appolonia stool. Unfortunately, some persons in the town, including Iddrisu Tettey Mansro, Seth Gblie Narh and Seth Affum were not in support of the project and, therefore, decided to go to court over the issue.
In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs described themselves as heads and lawful representatives of the three ruling clans in Appolonia – Bediako We, Sanshie/Sackey We and Kojo We respectively, and as such, kingmakers of the town. According to the plaintiffs, a Supreme Court ruling on land matters in Appolonia was clear that the sale or alienation of land in Appolonia must be done with the consent and concurrence of the three kingmakers in the town, which in their estimation refers to them.
They contended, however, that in the alienation of the said 2,000 acres of land to the ADC, the consent and concurrence of the kingmakers were not sought, therefore, praying the court to declare the said land alienation null and void. They were further seeking: “An order for injunction restraining the defendants, their successors-in-title, principals, agents, workmen, assigns and privies from entering on and/or engaging in any form of activity, development or construction on the land described above”.
However, the court, presided over by Justice Elizabeth Ankumah (Mrs.) dismissed the injunction and awarded a cost of GH˘500 against the plaintiffs. Dismissing the suit, Mrs. Elizabeth Ankumah said she had studied the judgment of the Supreme Court as indicated by the plaintiffs, but it appears that it had been misrepresented or misconstrued. “The core findings made by the judge were that Appolonia lands, although they belong to Kpone, are alienable by the Chief of Appolonia in consultation with his elders.
“The court found that the plaintiffs were some of the elders of Appolonia with whom the defendants must consult in his dealings with Appolonia lands”, she noted. The presiding judge continued: “It is a basic principle of customary land law that a chief can only make a valid grant, alienation or disposition of stool property with the consent and concurrence of his principal elders. And it is the chief who knows all his elders.
“However, a careful reading of the judgment under reference would show that both the High Court and the Supreme Court did not say that the plaintiffs therein were the only elders of Appolonia. I do not think in this case, the plaintiffs are alleging that they are the only elders of Appolonia. “My conclusion is that greater hardship would be occasioned should this application be granted. Application is refused”, Mrs. Elizabeth Ankumah concluded.
As soon as news broke out in the town that the court had dismissed the injunction application, the residents went into wild jubilation thanking God that at long last the case has been ruled in favour of the company. Speaking in an interview with the paper, Assemblyman for the area, Timothy Mensah Tettey said a young man from the area, known as Daniel Akwetey Tetteh, who is an international businessman brought ADC, which was then called Renaissance Group of Companies from South Africa to help create jobs for the teaming unemployed youth in the town.
He explained that everyone in the village is upbeat about the coming into being of the project, hoping that aside reducing the unemployment situation in the area, the company will help bring development to the people. However, a small group of persons in the area who did not want the project to take off dragged the company to court by filing an application for interlocutory injunction to bring the activities of the project to a standstill. Hon Tettey continued that they are happy that the court ruled in favour of the company, which means that the company which has already employed 15 persons as security men can now continue with the creation of the City of Light.
Source: The Chronicle
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