A real estate development company has dragged the registered trustees of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) to court over a land dispute involving the two parties.
The plaintiff, Construction & Furniture Company CFC (W.A.) Ltd, is seeking a declaration from the High Court in Accra that the purported termination of a lease executed between the two parties in 1957 is in contravention of the provisions of the lease.
It is also seeking an order of specific performance based on the full satisfaction of the premium or consideration paid under the 1957 lease and which the defendant had received from the plaintiff.
The plaintiff is further praying the court for a perpetual injunction to restrain the defendant from interfering in any manner whatsoever with its quiet enjoyment of the land.
A statement of claim accompanying the writ said the plaintiff, by a lease executed between it and the defendant on March 18, 1957, acquired a leasehold interest in a piece of land at Mile 5, Tesano (Apenkwa) on the Accra-Nsawam motor road for a term of 50 years.
The statement averred that the provision of the lease agreement, dated March 15, 1957, in clear mandatory terms gave the plaintiff the option to renew the lease for a further term of 50 years.
It said the plaintiff's right to renew the lease for a further term was to be at the same covenant and conditions as were contained in the lease agreement, provided that notice of its intention to exercise such right was given to the defendant anytime before the expiration of the term of 50 years.
According to the statement, the said lease agreement also provided for the payment of the sum of £1,200 for the total undivided, vacant land of 27 acres demised to plaintiff.
It further averred that beside the purchase price of the land in the sum of £1, 200, the parties agreed to the payment of £25 as yearly ground rent for a plot on completion of every building on each plot.
The statement contended that while the payment of the £25 as yearly ground rent was based on each plot developed with a building thereon, the payment of the £1, 200 consideration or premium was for the whole undivided vacant land demised.
It said upon the renewal of the lease for a further term of 50 years, according to the provisions of the 1957 lease, the plaintiff was required to pay the sum of £ 1 ,200 again for the whole of the land demised with buildings thereon.
It emphasized that the lease did not provide that the £1, 200 consideration or premium should be paid for each plot subsequently developed upon the lease.
According to the statement, in accordance with the renewal clause stated in the lease agreement, plaintiff gave notice of its intention to renew the lease to defendant on January 30, 2006, long before the lease terminated in March 2007, with a subsequent reminder letter.
Furthermore, it said in accordance with the 1957 lease agreement, plaintiff paid the defendant the Ghana cedi equivalent of £ 1,200 in the sum of GH¢56,000 as consideration for the new term of 50 years.
"Plaintiff, however; says that contrary to the provisions of the 1957 lease agreement, the defendant has unilaterally decided to impose new terms in respect of the payment of the valuable consideration or premium on the basis of an amount per plot for each of the plaintiff's developed 57 plots," the statement went on to say.
It said by the defendant's strange, unreasonable and unlawful conduct, it was now with brazen military force demanding further payment of GH¢400, OOO, in addition to the GH¢56, 000 premium, the equivalent in Ghana Cedis of £l, 2OO paid to the defendants in full satisfaction of its premium under the new term 0f 5O years.
It said by a publication in the Daily Graphic of September 15, 2006, the PCG willfully misinformed the public that there were rival claims as to who was entitled to act on behalf of or in the name of the plaintiff when, in fact, the defendant was aware that there was no rival claimants.
The statement said in another notice to the public published in the Daily Graphic of July 13, 2007, the defendants requested all persons who had assignments from the plaintiff to contact the Properties Manager of the church with copies of their documents to discuss a possible renewal of their interest by the defendant.
“In yet further publication dated February 21, 2009 on page 30, the PCG, in typical bad faith, informed plaintiff's subleases, the occupants of the plots, that plaintiff's lease had reverted to the church, by reason of which those who wished to take up new leaseholds were to contact the church's legal advisor not later than March 23,2009 for offer letters.”
It said by the publications, the defendant had placed the plaintiff in an extreme risk of being inundated with law suits by its subleases, some of whom had paid sums of money to plaintiff in anticipation of renewing their own leases.
It said by its unlawful claim that the PCG had been unable to renew the lease for plaintiff and consequently the plots covered by the lease had reverted to the said church, the defendant had unlawfully annexed plaintiff's business interest and/or the new term of SO years.
It further contended that the defendant should not he allowed under any circumstances to take advantage of its own wrongdoing in the face of its valid and binding contract with the plaintiff.