A High Court in Accra presided over by Justice Anthony Oppong, a Court of Appeal judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge has declared Nana Ekua Oyee family as owners of a parcel of land located at Dedeiman in the Ga West District of the Greater Accra Region.
Justice Oppong, in his judgment delivered on March 23, 2020, said Nana Oppong Odei I, the plaintiff who is the head of the Nana Ekua Oyee family has the requisite capacity to sue as representing the family.
He awarded cost of GH₵5,000 for damages for trespass in favour of the plaintiff and further restrained the defendant, Akrofi Mpere, his agents, servants, workmen, assigns and Mpere family members from selling or entering upon the land.
Justice Oppong said the court’s order nullifies the publication or advert purporting to declare defendant and the Mpere family as owners of the land.
“It is further ordered that any grant of the land made by the defendant or any member of the defendant’s family be nullified.”
Both Nana Odei I and Mpere family had claimed ownership of the land in dispute and adduced evidence to substantiate their claim at the trial held before Land Division One of the Accra High Court.
The plaintiff, represented by Maria Allotey-Annan as counsel, maintained that a portion of the family land was mortgaged to one Nicholas Viefer of Germany in 1934 and witnessed by Nana Kwabina Donkor, his great grandfather who was a chief of Dedeiman.
Regarding the mortgage, the plaintiff averred that the land which was duly registered as 189/1934 was redeemed from Viefer by Nana Ekua Oyee by settling the amount involved which was £200.
The plaintiff referred to certain acts of possession and ownership on the land by mentioning judgements plaintiff obtained against some people who entered the land and asked the court for declaration of title, recovery of possession, damages for trespass, perpetual injunction, an order nullifying any publication purporting to declare any grant made by the defendant and an order for removal of pillars or any other structure on the said land.
The defendant, on the other hand, challenged the capacity of the plaintiff to mount and maintain the action, and stated that there was no family known as Nana Ekua Oyee family of Dedeiman that owned Dedeiman land.
The defendant, represented by Maxwell Kpodo as counsel, denied all the averrements of plaintiff pertaining to the historical or traditional account as to the root of title to the land and subjected plaintiff to strict proof of those averrements.
Mr Mpere contended that there has never been any chief of Dedeiman known as Nana Kwabina Donkor and that the Dedeiman stool at all material times was occupied by Nii Obli Tackie Mpere II.
The defendant contended that since the occupants on the land had their grants from the Mpere family, who gave the legitimacy to grant Dedeiman land, plaintiff lacked the standing to initiate the instant action.
The defendant averred that the preparation and publication of the statutory declaration was necessitated by the need of the Mpere family to register its land.
But Justice Oppong in his judgement stated that, “the court finds that the plaintiff succeeded in showing that there is a family called Nana Ekua Oyee family and that the plaintiff can be credited with the capacity to sue as the head of the said family.”
He said the court was certain that the land, the subject matter in dispute, which seemed to be the very land granted to Nana Ekua Oyee in 1940, became the self acquired property of Nana Ekua Oyee.
The court, held that Dedeiman or Brekuso had no interest or title in the said land any longer.
“It is the considered view of the court that this particular land cannot be claimed by the Dedeiman stool. The owner, thereof, is Nana Ekua Oyee. It appears that Nana Ekua Oyee passed on and the land would by the law of succession devolved on her family. The plaintiff’s claim that the land belongs to the family of Nana Ekua Oyee is worthy of credit,” Justice Oppong stated.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA