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16.10.2008 Regional News

Military loses case against Kpone Traditional Council

By Richard Attenkah, Tema - Ghanaian Chronicle
Military loses case against Kpone  Traditional Council

A Tema High Court has declared the Kpone Traditional Council (KTC), as the allodial owners of a parcel of land located at Kpone-Gbetsile, which lies on the western part of Michel Camp, a military base located along the Tema-Akosombo highway.

There was a serious dispute between the KTC and Nii Joseph Kwaku Teye, Chief of Gbetsile, a village under the KTC on one hand, and the Commanding Officer (CO) of the military camp, Major Owusu on the other, over who was the rightful owner of the land.

The land in question, which is bordered in the north by Gbetsile stool land, measuring 5,376.6 feet, on the east by Michel Camp land, measuring 4,663.0 feet, on the south by the Tema Stool land, measuring 4,024.6 feet, and Gbetsile Stool land, measuring 1,363.1 feet, is about 311.7 acres.

Pronouncing the judgment, the presiding judge, His Lordship Nana Gyamera Tawiah, observed that after listening to the legal counsels of both the KTC and the military boss, it was clear that the judgment on admission was in order, and therefore went ahead to grant it.

He said, “This is because all the documents filed by the CO, and the two other defendants, including the statement of Defence, show that the KTC are the owners of the land. Judgment is accordingly entered in favour of the KTC.”

The KTC and the Gbetsile Mantse, in May this year, dragged the CO, the Chief of Defense Staff and the Attorney General to the Tema High Court, seeking a declaration of title to all the 311.7 acres of land in contention.

The complainants were also seeking general damages, as well as a perpetual injunction to restrain the three defendants, their privies, assigns, workmen, servants, and all other people, who one way or the other are related to them, from any dealing with them as far as the land in question was concerned.

In their statement of claim, the KTC averred that they had been in possession of the land since time immemorial, and that the natives of the Gbetsile village had been farming on it without any hindrance.

It stated that they granted portions of the land to developers, who started one project or the other, on their respective lands.

However, “Without leave and license from the complainants, the acting Commanding Officer, Major Owusu, and a group of soldiers under his command, trespassed on the land and demolished the buildings constructed by complainants' guarantees on the land,” it noted.

They claimed that they warned Major Owusu to desist from his acts of trespassing, but all he did was to retort that he was fighting for the land, on behalf of the Ghana Armed Forces.

The statement of claim noted that they further instructed their lawyer, to officially write to the military boss, and copied the Chief of Defense Staff, to stop trespassing on their land, indicating the fact that since the land was their legitimate property, the military cannot seize it.

It went further that, “Notwithstanding several repeated warnings, issued by the Plaintiffs to the Military boss, to desist from his unlawful acts of trespassing, he has rather intensified same with support of the officers working under him,” adding, by the conduct of Major Owusu, they continued to suffer losses and damages.

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