“The land in contention does not belong to the people of Gbestsile, but the three royal clans of the Kpone stool” they said, in reaction to reports of a dispute over the land.
The three royal clans are Bediako We, Kojo We and Sanshie/ Sackie We.
Speaking at a press conference at Tema, Nii Tettey Iddrisu Mansro, head of Bediako We, said “the boundary between Appolonia and Gbetsile has been at a visible point called Nogotsoato”.
He said the boundary was created years ago following the murder of someone there, during interrogation and the people of Gbetsile, indicated clearly that the area was not their property but that of the people of Appolonia.
Nii Mansro explained that the accredited grantors had leased acres of the land to Sino Africa Development Company Limited, and that the company entered the lease agreement after it conducted all the necessary searches with the Lands Commission and the other relevant bodies and was convinced it was dealing with the rightful grantors of the land.
“The land leased to the said company does not fall within the jurisdiction of Gbetsile,” he stated, and asked that the company be allowed to use the land for its intended purpose.
He also cautioned those who had encroached on the land to vacate it, saying legal actions would be taken against any individual or group of people who continued to unlawfully encroach on the property.
Nii Mansro advised prospective land buyers to conduct adequate checks at the Lands Commission before paying money to anyone posing as a land owner.
During a tour of the land, it was noticed that portions of the fence wall built to protect the 1000 acre land had been broken.
Mr Gabriel Foresby, Operations Manager of the Sino Africa Development Company, a subsidiary of Jospong Group, said before acquiring the land the company did its checks with the Lands Commission to ascertain the true ownership, and determined that it belonged to the people of Appolonia.
He said before 2015, the company had information that some people had encroached on portions of the land, with the aim of dissipating it to cause huge loss to the company.
According to him, the company decided to build a fence around the land to protect it, but said during the fencing, a family sprung up to claim ownership.
Mr. Foresby said the company came into agreement with the chief of Gbetsile, Nii Teye Kojo, to give out the portions of land found to belong to them, after consultations and checks.
He said on two occasions, the people agitating for the return of the lands broke portions of the fence wall and a report was lodged with the Regional Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service in Accra.
He noted that a fortnight ago, there were media reports that his company had forcefully and illegally taken over a land, which sought to create the impression that the company was being inconsiderate to the people.
Mr Foresby said they had met with all those involved and indicated to them that the company had no interest in taking over lands that did not belong to it.
By Jemima Esinam Kuatsinu