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July 20, 2010 | General News

Supreme Court finally decides for Ogbojo Mantse

Bismark Bebli - Ghanaian Chronicle

By a unanimous decision, The Supreme Court has thrown out an application for review of its earlier decision in the twenty years Ogbojo land litigation case. The decision of the court last Thursday brought an end to the Ogbojo land litigation case.

According to the court, presided over by Justice William Atuguba, 'There is no need to call upon the other side. We have not been clothed by the applicant with any exceptional circumstances as known to our review jurisdiction to warrant further consideration of this application.'

The court consequently awarded GH ¢1,000 to each responded and dismissed the case. Other members of the panel include Justices Sophia Akuffo, Julius Ansah, Mrs. Sophia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse and Paul Baffoe-Bonnie.

Meanwhile, Nene Amegatcher, counsel for the Nii Torgbor Obodai II, the chief of Ogbojo and his elders had served notice that those who in the course of litigation might have acquired lands from the La Mantse, Nii Kpobi Tetteh Tsuru, whose application was dismissed, his privies, assigns, agents and the so-called five-member committee should see Nii Torgbor, the Ogbojo Chief for regularization.

According to them, any failure by the people involved to regularize their lands with the rightful owners may go against them, saying 'It is in their own interest to regularize it within five days.'

It would be recalled that after twenty years of land litigation, the Supreme Court declared that the allodial title to lands at Ogbojo, a suburb of Accra, is owned by the Anahor and Dzirase families of the Ogbojo village.

The court set aside an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal on the issue, pointing out that it was against the weight of evidence and the law.

The court also restored the judgment of the trial High Court, which dismissed an action by the La Mantse, Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III that sought to claim the lands of Ogbojo.

The plaintiff had sought a declaration of title to all Ogbojo lands and requested for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain Nii Torgbor Obodai II, the Ogbojo Mantse of Ogbojo from disposing Ogbojo lands or any part thereof without his (La Mantse) approval and consent.

Joined to the suit were Topp Construction Company, its Managing Director, Mr. Evans Teye and Evans Teye Estate Development Company Limited.

In his statement of claim, the La Mantse said Ogbojo village was one of the villages under the La Stool and all Ogbojo lands were part of La Rural Stool lands. According to the statement, the Ogbojo lands, together with all other La Rural Stool Lands became the property of the La Stool by conquest many centuries ago.

He went on to state that following the acquisition of the Ogbojo village and other La villages, they were settled by subjects of the La Stool to which they owe allegiance, and which had always been the allodial owner of such lands.

The statement affirmed that according to La Custom, the head of any La rural village may make grants of La Rural Stool lands subject of the La Stool for subsistence farming only, and for construction of dwelling houses for themselves, but all other grants of such lands could only be validly made with the prior approval of the La Mantse.

Although Nii Torgbor Obodai admitted his status of being a subject of the La Stool in his statement of defence, he denied categorically that Ogbojo village was one of the villages under the La Stool.

After summarizing the respective cases of the parties, the trial court held that the La Mantse's case could not hold. The court, therefore, dismissed it and entered judgment for Nii Torgbor Obodai.

Not satisfied, the La Mantse appealed to the Court of appeal on several grounds.  The Court of Appeal, however, allowed the appeal, set aside the judgment of the trial High Court.

It was, therefore, under these circumstances that Nii Torgbor Obodai resorted to the Supreme Court as the final arbiter who unanimously ruled in his favour thus, bringing in 20years tussle to a final and decisive end.\

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