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Court instructs popular businessman to vacate disputed land & remove properties

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A District Magistrate Court at Bole in the Savannah Region has in a five paged judgement instructed popular businessman based in Damongo, Gyimah Ibrahim (Keshenteng Bo Afe) to vacate disputed land housing his workshop and remove all properties thereon by 17th August, 2023.

The court further directed the West Gonja Municipal Assembly to remove all nuisance and properties belonging to the bussinesman from the disputed land should he fail to comply with the ruling of the court by the set date and charge the full cost on him.

Presided over by Mr. Edward Essel, the District Magistrate,the court upheld after a long period of trial that the land in dispute was found to be the property of the plaintiff,the Ghana Highways Authority, which had enjoyed undisturbed possession of the parcel of land for over 25 years.

A cost of Ghc2,000.00 was entered for the plaintiff.

Plaintiff institution, the Ghana Highways Authority was in court for a declaration that the disputed parcel of land measuring 1.40 acres lying and situated at Block “A” Ext. East Attributo, Damongo, was a bonafide property of the Ghana Highways, Damongo, in the Savannah Region.

The plaintiff sought an order of ejection of the defendant, Gyimah Ibrahim from the said land and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, his agents, representatives and workers from interfering with the quiet enjoyment of the said land by the plaintiff.

The defendedant,a professional welder, has been operating his steel factory on the disputed land for several years now and has established other landed property on the said site.

Defendant pleaded not liable to the claims of the plaintiff and counter claimed seeking declaration that the parcel of land measuring 0.50 acres situated and lying at Block “A” Extension, Attributo East, Damongo, was his property.
He further sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the plaintiff,its agents, assigns, workmen and all persons claiming through it from interfering in whatever manner with the ownership, use and possession of the said plot of land.

According to the defendant, he acquired the disputed piece of land from the late Damongo Wura Tutumba 11 in 2013 and has since been paying ground rent to the office of Administrator of Stool Lands. This he proved with documentary evidence.

Both parties gave evidence to support their claims.

The court went on ‘Locus in quo on the land with the parties. The physical planning Department filed an extract of the existing Planning scheme of Damongo with the court.

Facts:
The court established that, Damongo is a zoned township with a planning scheme dating back to, at least, 1979.
That, there is a piece of land known and called Ghana Highways Authority land in Damongo.
Also, Ghana Highways Authority is an offshoot of Public Works Department (PWD).
Judicial notice was taken of the fact that Gonja/Dagbon lands, Damongo lands inclusive, were Skin lands.

Ruling:
The court upheld that the disputed parcel of land is a known demarcated area of the Ghana Highways Authority of which the authority is in active possession as depicted in the approved planning scheme in use for Damongo township.

According to the court, the late Damongo Wura was not cloth with the authority to alienate the disputed parcel of land to the defendant, since it was a known piece of land in possession of the Ghana Highways Authority for a long time and the presence of the institution on the land is captured in the 1989 Master Plan of the Damongo township.

“It cannot be said that the Skin was not aware of the presence of the GHA on the land. It is rightly presumed that the skin had alienated the land to the said state institution.
The skin cannot approbate and reprobate,” the court noted in its ruling.

In the view of the court, the Skin as at the time of the purported alienation of the said parcel of land to the defendant did not have the land to alienate and what one does not have one cannot give as in the maxim, “nemo dat quod non habet.”

Information available to this reporter indicates that the defendant,Gyimah Ibrahim is dissatisfied with the judgement of the District Court on grounds that Mr. Daniel Amarlai Quarcoo, a non lawyer, did not have the capacity to issue a writ and conduct the case on behalf of the Plaintiff/Respondent among others.
He has since filed an appeal through his lawyers.

The defendant has also filled a motion for stay of execution, praying the court to stay the execution of its judgement pending the hearing and determination of the appeal lodged against same upon the grounds as contained in the supporting affidavit.

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