Members of the Azanwule Family resident in the Wassa and Nzema areas in the Western Region have appealed to the Chief Justice (CJ) to intervene and halt the “obvious disregard for legal procedures” by some claimants to the Appolonia land concession, portions of which are being sold illegally.
It states that in spite of a pending lawsuit and injunction by the Sekondi High Court restraining all individuals and groups from holding themselves up as owners of the concessions until a final determination of the case, lands in the concessions are still being sold indiscriminately.
According to the family, it is the bona fide owner of the land concession at Appolonia and alleges that some other families and so-called traditional authorities on the lands in dispute known to be settler farmers are illegitimately receiving mineral royalties and compensations in respect of minerals on the land.
A Spokesperson and an elder of the Azanwule family, Mr Joseph Kwesi Yankson, made the assertions in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Takoradi last Wednesday.
A certified copy of an appeal indicating that a writ of summons was issued on October 2, 2017 by Bosomtwe-Sam and Associates and which was initiated by Ebusuapayin Patrick Erzoah Tandoh at the Sekondi High Court was shown to the Daily Graphic.
The plaintiff's claim is for the "declaration of title to all that piece and parcel of land situate and being at the following places and being part of the general land held by plaintiff's family and called by the following names: Atuabo, Sanzule, Ampain, Anoakyi, Esiama, Awiaso, Bakanta and Christian".
The statement of claim was also a declaration that the plaintiff's family is entitled to compensation payable for the acquisition of land for Ghana Gas at Atuabo, the recovery of possession of those lands and general damages for trespass.
It again urged for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their workmen, agents and privies from dealing with the land.
Two elderly women in the family who are in their 90s, Madam Nyamekeh Avola and Chine Eluwa, have corroborated the assertions in the statement of claim and showed historical documents to prove the family’s claim to the Atuabo, Sanzule, Half Assini and Awiabo lands, stressing that :"It is the reason why we are in court."
Mr Yankson explained that some so-called claimants to the lands in question had allegedly connived with some unscrupulous officers at the Lands Commission, the Land Valuation Division and the office of the Administrator of Stool Lands to sell the lands and were receiving mineral royalties in respect of the said concession in disregard of the pending legal suit at the court.
"This ought to be corrected with immediate effect and we are urging the CJ, Mrs Sophia Akuffo, to ensure that those who are infringing on the law are made to abide by the dictates of the rule of law,” he said while pointing out that: "the law must be respected by all manner of persons."
Mr Yankson also called on the CJ to halt the payment of mineral royalties to any other family or stool in the said enclave until the rightful owners of the concession were finally determined by the court.
He declared: "We members of the Azanwule family want to pursue our case within the confines of the law and, therefore, we would remain calm. In the same vein, we expect all other interested parties to follow the due process."
Truncation of legal process
According to him, "To prevent any confusion or acts that will seem to truncate the smooth legal process, we are appealing to the CJ to intervene and ensure that the case is resolved amicably."