Court dismisses Empire Builders writ against Top Kings Enterprise in Borteyan land case

The High Court in Adentan last Friday dismissed a writ filed by Empire Builders Limited, seeking to take possession of acres of land owned to Top Kings Enterprise, a Ghanaian owned registered real estate company.

The plaintiff wanted the court to restrain the defendant (Top Kings), its agents, workmen and assigns from entering, selling, or having anything to do with the 456 acres of land situated at Borteyman, Tema, which is the subject of many years of litigation. 

But ruling on the matter, the court, presided over by Justice Fred Kwasi Awuah observed that the conduct of the defendant amounted to abuse of the court process as the matter had already been dealt with from the lower court to the Supreme Court.

The judge said that although the plaintiff represented by Fortunate K.B Fio argued that the instant action was different from those disposed off by the superior courts, the judge maintained that, the issues were the same.

Noting that the case had travelled more than two decades now, Justice Awuah said: “Litigation must end at one point or the other.”

On December 16, 2020, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie said: “In the circumstances, we find that there is no sufficient basis in law for any appellate interference with the findings of fact made by the Trial Court as affirmed by the Court of Appeal and consequently no reason to disturb the order giving effect to those findings and conclusions made by the judgement of the Court of Appeal. Save the variation made with respect to the order of the Court of Appeal which reduced the term of plaintiff’s lease, we affirm the said judgement, and hereby dismissed the appeal.”

In the writ filed before the Adenta High Court, the plaintiff averred that it is the proprietary owner of all that piece or parcel of land situated at Borteyman in the Tema Municipal District Assembly of the Greater Accra Region of the Republic of Ghana in extent of 62.466 acres.

The plaintiff stated that by a certificate of title dated March 7, 1940 and registered at the Deeds Registry as No. 214/1940, two pieces or parcels of land containing a combined area of 2,570.05 acres more or less referred to as the “the Nungua Farms Land” situated at north of Nungua was compulsorily acquired by the then Government of Gold Cost from Nungua Stool.

It is the case of the plaintiff that by a lease date August 12, 2010,  the President of Ghana, acting through the Lands Commission, leased all that piece or parcel of land forming part of the Nungua Farms Land, and containing an area of 976.44 acres more or less, to the Nungua Stool, for a term of Ninety-nine (99) years with effect from April 16, 2009 to the Nungua Stool subject to the rent thereby reserved and to the performance and observance of the covenants and stipulations therein contained.

The plaintiff further averred that by a Deed of Assignment dated August 13, 2010, Nungua Stool granted the unexpired term of the head lease dated April 16, 2010 over all that piece or parcel of land in extent of 62.466 acres to Empire Limited subject to the terms, conditions, covenants and stipulation.

Based on that, the plaintiff asked the court to declare the land in dispute as site for Empire Builders Limited.

Empire Builders also wanted the court to injuct Top Kings, its assigns and workmen to stop working, selling, disposing off, mortgaging in addition to costs (including counsel’s fees), award cost in damages for trespass as well as an order for recovery of possession.

The defendant had at all material times in the course of litigation denied that the land in dispute belonged to any family from Teshie and therefore was Teshie land.

It claimed that the land belonged to the Nungua Stool Land and stated that it had been in possession of the land since 1994.

It is the case of the defendant that it acquired a total of 62 acres in two lots of 40 acres and 22 acres and registered the title deed in respect thereof at the Land Title Registry as No.777/ 1999.

The defendant stated further that it had to re-acquire 8 acres out of the 40 acre lot from the Nii Whang Family of Nungua because the said family was in possession of the portion of land.

According to the defendant, it registered the said land as AR 3222/1999 and that it paid monies to other persons claiming interest with respect to the 22 acre parcel of land to enable it register same as No.646/2000 with Land Registry No. GA 15801.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA 

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