Asem stool wins again…in railways land case

The stretch of the railway line which was reverted to the Asem stool. Photo Godwin OfosuThe Court of Appeal in Kumasi has upheld the High Court decision that the railway lands be reverted to the Asem Stool.

A three-member panel presided over by Justices K. Ayebi Presi on Tuesday, unanimously gave the ruling for non-compliance of legal argument also known as statement of case by the GRDA.

This, in real terms means that the Asem Stool has the possessive right of the whole Railway lands.

On March 18, 2014, a Kumasi High Court presided over by Justice K.B. Apenkwa, ruled that the lands belong to the Asem Stool Lands.

The judge said “from the unchallenged evidence before me and from the analysis made in respect of the land, I conclude this judgment and say that the land in the subject matter of the instance action remained a stool land even before the coming into effect of the 1992 constitution and, therefore, the plaintiff (Asem Stool) had the right to its use as a stool land”.

He continued “any purported alienation of portion of this land to third parties by the fifth defendant(GRCL) is therefore null and void and is of no legal effect once the fifth defendant has no title in the land that it can transfer to these other parties”.

The court on June 16, 2014 further quashed an application for stay of execution of the judgment which compelled the GRCL to appeal in the case, which led to the Railway Company obtaining a stay of execution of the judgement on October 27, 2014 until the determination of the substantive case.

But, on Tuesday, the three judges determined the case and noted that the GRDA failed to submit their legal argument.

Earlier, there was a heated argument between Nana Ato Dadzie on the side of the GRCL and Mr Hans Kwadwo Kodua on the side of the Asem Stool over the filing of defence by the GRCL.

While Nana Ato Dadzie submitted that they filed the defence but the High Court made some error, Mr. Kodua indicated that it was not within stipulated time and objected to the motion for stay of execution.

“We believe we have a defence, but the judge erroneously said we did not file defence”, Nana Ato Dadzie emphasized.

Again, Mr. Kodua argued that the court gave a declarative judgement which was not executable in law and that it was not applicable to appeal.

Mr. Kodua had argued that the GRCL did not have the authority in law to have granted the lands to private developers for commercial purposes, noting that GRCL had granted a 50 year lease to Despite Company and 30 year lease to another private developer, stressing “there is a three storey building which is very close to the railway lines”.

According to the lawyer “by their own action, the company does not need anymore the lands for the purpose they were acquired .By their own conduct, the railway business is finished”.

He pointed out that in 1903, the lands were vested in the then governor by Act 145 of 1962, but the lands were not compulsorily acquired neither were they appropriated, but that they were vested in the governor in trust for the Golden Stool and that the Act 145 was repealed and Act 123 of 1962, vested the said lands in the Golden Stool.

The Asem Stool took the case to the court realising that the GRCL has been selling the lands to prospective developers, and for almost one year and six months the case had been pending until March 18.

It is recalled that The Ghanaian Times carried the story of the ruling in its March 19, 2014 edition.

The over 200-acre land stretches from Adum Railway Station through the Asafo VIP lorry station to Asokore Mampong.

The other members of the panel were Justice Irene Danquah and Ibrahim Tanko.

From Kingsley E. Hope, Kumasi

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