Court slams Lands C’ssion with cost… for failing to file defence to suit

An Accra Fast Track High Court (Lands Division Four), has awarded a cost of GH¢2,000 against the Lands Commission for failing to file a defence in a legal suit against it.

Despite prior notice served it by the court, the Commission waived the opportunity to defend claims of allowing illegal sale of lands belonging to members of the Kete Community in the Krachi West District of the Volta Region.

Two weeks ago, the court presided over by Justice Hafisatu Ameleobe, deferred ruling in respect of an application brought against the Commission for not filing its defence.

The adjournment was to allow the defendant to enter defence but they failed to do so.

There was no legal representation for the Commission when the matter was called at 9: 45 a.m. on Friday, June 19, 2015.

Angered by this development, counsel for the plaintiffs prayed the court to impose a heavy fine on the defendants.

“My Lord, in the prevailing circumstance, we pray for a cost of GH¢ 5,000 against the defendants. My Lord, the conduct of the commission is a testimony that state lawyers don’t respect the courts,” he said.

The court did not disclose the date for hearing of the substantive case which had the Volta River Authority and Nana Mprah Besemuna Mprah III, the Paramount Chief of the Krachi Traditional Area, who are joined to the suit for the same claim.

The plaintiffs, Alhaji Abu Safianu Baba, Abdulai T. Baako and Alhaji Salifu Sualley, dragged the Commission to court for allowing the illegal sale of land acquired and paid for by the state for the resettlement of the Kete community.

An affidavit in support of the interlocutory judgement in default of defence, prayed for a number of reliefs: a declaration that all the piece of land containing approximately 1829.81 acres situated at Kantankufri in the then Buem Krachi District (now Krachie West District) of the Volta Region is land that was acquired by the State as a resettlement and farmlands for the plaintiffs and other members of the plaintiff’s community who were displaced from their original settlement as a result of the construction of the Volta Lake.

The affidavit also prayed for an order directed at the Volta River Authority and Lands Commission to make allocations of farmlands among the plaintiffs and other members of the plaintiff’s community who were entitled to same.

It also includes declaration that neither Nana Mprah Besemuna III, nor any of its agents, assigns, servants, workmen or any other person acting in concert with Nana Mprah has the capacity to make any valid alienation of any portion of land which is the subject of dispute in the suit.

There is also an order declaring void, any alienations of any portions of land which is the subject matter of the dispute to any person whether by Nana Mprah alone or acting in concert with any other person.

In addition, there is an order of perpetual injunction to restrain Nana Mprah and his agents, assigns, servants, privies, associates, workmen or any other person from purporting to make any grants or alienation of the land which is the subject matter of the suit to any person.

By Malik Sullemana        

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