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The High Court, Accra presided over by His Lordship Jerome Noble-Nkrumah on the 6th May 2020, confirmed Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited as the legal owners of the Land measuring 2911.53 acres and situate at Katamanso in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.
In his judgment, the court also stated that “the court finds that the plaintiff, Nii Adjetey Obuor Buor II of Teshie has failed to satisfy the court in this regard on all his claims against the Defendants including Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited herein, consequently the Plaintiff’s action fails in its entirety and same is dismissed.
The court awarded a cost of GH¢20,000.00 against the plaintiff, Nii Adjetey Obuor Buor II of Teshie and in favor of Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited.
The Plaintiff sued Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited, The Nungua Stool, and fourteen other defendants at the High Court, Accra seeking a declaration for the land covering 1,640 acres which includes Agri-Cattle Lakeside lands.
The Plaintiff as part of his reliefs further asked the High Court to make an order directed at Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited to pay compensation for the area utilized to the family of Nii Adjetey Obor Buor and further order to release the unutilized portions of the land to the plaintiff’s family.
In support of his claim against the Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate limited and other defendants, the plaintiff who described himself as Gbeyeomli Mantse and a direct descendant of Numo Adjetey Obuor Buor, the founder of Gbeyeomli village and its surrounding villages.
The Plaintiff says his ancestors discovered the land in issue through hunting long before the Katamanso war and was the first to build a cottage on the strench of land and that Gbeyeomli was founded contemporaneously with Oyarifa and Ashalley Botwe.
The Plaintiff further stated that Gbeyeomli land forms part of the larger Numo Nmashie lands as confirmed in judgment obtained by Numo Nmashie family in Civil Appeal No. 49/80. The Plaintiff also said their lands were in the stomach of AshaleyBotwe.
The Plaintiff further as part of his reliefs asked the High Court to make an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the Defendants, their agents and assigns or privies from entering or developing or conveying any portions of the land or further doing anything on the land that is likely to be an encumbrance or inconsistent with the allodial ownership of the land.
The case of Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited
Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited traced its roots of title to a grant of the land by the Nungua Stool on 8th October 1970 to the then Black Watch Cattle Breeding Farms. This grant was for farming purposes and the land was 4,244.25 acres. On 18th January 1974, Black Watch Cattle Breeding Farms assigned its interest in the entire land to Agri-Cattle Limited with the consent and concurrence of Nungua Stool. The land was also registered at Lands Commission. Subsequently the Nungua Stool granted to Agri-cattle Ltd a change in use of land from farming to real estate development. The company then changed its name to Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited on 13th June 2005 and same was duly registered at Registrar General Department.
Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited which was the 4th defendant stated that due to compulsory acquisition by the Government of Ghana over a portion of its land on 27th May 1992 for State Housing Project, its land size reduced from 4,244.25 acres to 2,911.53 acres at the time it acquired its Land Title Certificate No. TD0513 in 1996. Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited further told the Court that they have been in undisbursed possession and occupation of the land granted to them by Nungua Stool since 1974 and they have built several houses and amusement park on the said land.
Apart from the lease agreements and Land title Certificate among other documents which the 4th defendant, Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited tendered as evidence of acts and events of living memory by undisturbed possession and occupation on its land, it also tendered in support of its claim, three (3) High Court judgments which all confirmed the 4th defendant as the legal owner of the land it occupies.
The cases were Suit No. AL/83/2007 Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited vrs Lands Commission, & Anor, Suit No. BL 313/05 John Armah & Ashalley Botwe Family vrs Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited and Suit No. FAL 363/13 the Numo Nmashie Families of Teshie/La represented by Daniel Nii Adzete Adzei and Nii Nmai Kodzo vrs Benjamin Quarshie Mensah, Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate, The Nungua Stool.
Nungua Stool also confirmed that they had granted the land to Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited since 1974.
The court decision
The Court in evaluating the evidence of the parties to arrive at its final decision said that in the composite plan ordered by the court, the land shown by the plaintiff to the surveyor is even much bigger than the land shown by the plaintiff’s own site plan.
The Plaintiff called a witness who claimed to be an administrative head of Numo Nmashie family, a retired officer of the erstwhile Ghana Airways Corporation, consequently very literate and as an administrative head of Numo Nmashie family whose lands Gbeyeomli claimed to be part of and who has access to maps and judgments in the name of the family, could not describe the land in issue.
The Court had this to say “A claim for declaration of title or order for injunction must always fail if the plaintiff fails to establish positively the identity of the land he claims”…
The Court also commented on the Numo Nmashie & Ashiyie families of Teshie/La case against the Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate Limited, the court found that the 1st Plaintiff (Numo Nmashie family) failed to establish their title to the subject land by their acquisition, identity and possession or its right to possession amongst others. The Court then entered judgment in favor of Agri-Cattle Lakeside Estate on its counter claim. The 1st Plaintiff in that matter is the same Numo Nmashie family to which the plaintiff says he belongs and whose lands the plaintiff claims Gbeyeomli land forms part of.
The High Court in its final decision stated the position of the law thus “It was trite principle of law that, he who asserts must prove and must win on the strength of his own case and not on the weakness of the defense”.
The Court then concluded that from the foregoing and since its endeavor is to adduce such evidence as will satisfy the court that on a balance of probabilities one party’s evidence is preferable than the other, this court finds that the plaintiff has failed to satisfy it in this regard on all his claims against the defendants herein, consequently, the plaintiff’s action fails in its entirety and same is dismissed with a cost of Ghc20,000 twenty thousand Cedis awarded against the plaintiff.
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