Two Siblings Win Land Case Against State Housing Corporation
An Accra High Court has ruled in favour of two private citizens who took the State Housing Company (SHC) Limited and four other state institutions to court for encroaching on their property.
The applicants, Jonathan Lamptey and Funmilayo Lamptey took the National Security Coordinator, National Board for Small Arms, the Director of BNI, the Attorney General and the SHC Ltd to court in 2012 for encroaching on their property.
The applicants are said to have purchased the property from Justice Hammond and Edward Afful, who also got it from the SHC Ltd. for GH¢150,000 for a period of 46 years.
The legal tussle began when the then National Security Coordinator allocated the property at North Labone Estate to the Ghana National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons to be used as its office.
The applicants, however, went to court contesting the ownership of the property.
In their affidavit in support of the amended application filed in March 2014, the applicants claimed ownership of the land by virtue of transfer of lease from one Justice Hammond and Edward Afful, beneficiaries of the estate of the late Justice William Sakyiama Hammond, acting through the SHC Ltd.
The applicants averred that in January 2012, officials of National Security, National Commission on Small Arms threw out their belongings and locked up the premises.
They claimed that their property had been wrongfully and forcefully occupied by the respondents who had refused them entry.
In response, the respondents in their affidavit denied that the applicants were the owners of the said parcel of land covering an area of 0.28 acres.
They averred that the property had since 1957 been that of the Ministry of Finance and when Small Arms Commissions moved to take possession of the property, they met two gentlemen who claimed to be assigns of the applicants still occupying it.
The respondents averred that the gentlemen could not provide any proof of ownership and when confronted that they had been directed by the Director of BNI to go for a refund of the money they paid to SHC Ltd, one Colonel Nutakor intervened and pleaded for time to set up a meeting between the respondents and the applicants.
The Managing Director of SHC Ltd, Francis Asenso, in an affidavit, averred that the property was erroneously transferred to Justice Hammond and Edward Afful pursuant to their misrepresentation that Justice Sekyiama Hammond, an employee of Ministry of Finance who was then occupying the property, had bequeathed his interest to them.
He averred that before the two finished paying the stated charges and before their title could be perfected, they transferred their interest in the property to the applicants and subsequently applied to have a lease prepared in the name of the applicants which was prepared and granted to them.
He said the board of the SHC Ltd later came to a conclusion that the whole transaction ought to be reversed because of the erroneous representation and the lease was subsequently revoked.
But the presiding judge, at the end of hearing, held that the SHC Ltd cannot execute a lease with the applicants transferring the residue of its interest to them and still claim title to the property.