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06.08.2004 Business & Finance

Samplex's 'Overreach' Attempt Foiled

By Chronicle
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An attempt by Samplex Ltd, a real estate developer, to over reach the interest of Agri-Cattle Limited over a piece of land measured 152.92acres at New Legon, Nungua Accra, has been foiled.

An Accra High Court has set aside an order of mandamus that the Managing Director of Samplex, Mr. Sampson Kwasi Darfour won against the Ghana Lands Commission.

The court noted that Mr. Darfuor had procured a lease document dated July 8, 1995 purported to have been signed by Nii Afotey Odai IV, then Acting Nungua Mantse, in the absence of Nii Odai Ayiku IV.

Mr. Dafuor subsequently presented the document to the Lands Commission and was granted concurrence by the commission on 2nd March, 1999.

The Manager of Agri-Cattle Limited, Dr. Kwame Gyamfi received information of Samplex's transaction at the Lands Commission and informed their Grantors, the Nungua Stool, represented by the Acting Nungua Mantse, Nii Afotey Odai IV.

The latter, in a declaration dated 23rd December 1999, signed by himself and his elders, namely, Nii Akwei Dankwa IV (Nungua Akwashongtse), Nii Kojo Mensah (Nungua Mantsiame), Nii Akwei Din Adotey (Akwashong Dzasetse) and Nii Otu Damfa (Mantse We Elder) notified the Lands Commission that Samplex's document was bogus regarding the concurrence by the Lands Commission.

Samplex stated in court that when they conducted their search, they found that the only person with adverse interest in the land in contention with the Land Registry as NO. 390/1974, was Black Watch Cattle Breeding Farms who had ceased operation in 1971.

Thus emboldened by a Lands Commission-registered document, Samplex entered the land.

Upon a report made by AgriCattle to the Police, Mr. Darfour was arrested and charged at the Circuit Tribunal for forcible entry to Agri-Cattle property.

The Presiding Judge, Mrs. Anderson Yebuah ruled that, "Due to the facts before us, it would seem that the offence that the prosecution ought to have proceeded on is that of trespass. As both are claiming title to that piece of land, we think this is a matter for the Civil Court and not the Criminal Court to determine."

Agri-Cattle had applied to the Land Title Registry for a certificate in respect of its interest in the land.

In the course of preparing the certificate for Agri-Cattle, the Land Title Registry wrote to all, including Samplex, who claimed adverse interests in the land, requesting the claimants to produce "proof of better quality than the lease by Nungua Stool in favour of Black Watch Cattle Ltd. now vested in Agri-Cattle."

None of the claimants, including Samplex, produced any proof to back their claims. Consequently, the land registry completed and issued Land Title Certificate NO. TD.0513 dated 9th January 1996, in favour of Agri-Cattle Ltd.

The buyers who had bought building plots from Samplex applied to the Land Title Registry for certificates in respect of their plots but they could not be processed because Samplex Ltd had no title to the land, which could be sub-leased to anybody.

Samplex Ltd. began to pile pressure on the Land's Commission to prevail upon the land title registry to process the applications, all to no avail Samplex subsequently went to court to seek an order of mandamus to compel the Lands Commission to delete from their records, registration and plotting of land documents, which were inconsistent with the registration.

Samplex succeeded in obtaining the Order of Mandamus against the Lands Commission.

The Lands Commission now found itself between a rock and a hard place. They could neither ignore the defects in Samplex's claim nor dishonour the court's order of mandamus. Samplex went to court again to file a contempt charge against the Lands Commission.

At this stage, Agri-Cattle went to Court to file an application to strike out the Order of Mandamus issued against the Commission, which was successful.

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