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La Stool loses case over 49,000 acre land to Lakeside Estate

BY: Mary Mensah
La Stool loses case of 49,000 acre land to Lakeside Estate
La Stool loses case over 49,000 acre land to Lakeside Estate

The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by the La Stool and three others against Agric Cattle and Lakeside Estate over some 49,420.53 acres of land situated at La Tsui Anaa.

The La Stool wanted possession of the land which was declared the rightful possession of Agric Cattle and Lakeside Estate by the Court of Appeal.

In a unanimous decision, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court, presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, dismissed the appeal on the basis that the original suit at the High Court, which culminated in the appeal, was a nullity because it was initiated by the La Traditional Council which had no capacity.

Nullity

It was the decision of the apex court that although the plaintiffs took steps to amend the writ and replaced the La Traditional Council with the La Stool, the fact that La Traditional Council had no capacity to sue rendered the entire legal action from the High Court to the Court of Appeal a nullity.

“When did Traditional Councils become owners of stool lands? The La Traditional had no capacity to sue.

Writ

Now since the original writ was a nullity, all the subsequent amendments taken in the writ were also a nullity.The writ was the foundation upon which the entire action was built, thus when it is nullified, the super-structure of the action, which are the proceedings and the judgements founded on the invalid writ, must totally collapse,” the apex court ruled.

The decision was written by Justice Samuel Marful-Sau. The other members on the panel were Justices Yaw Appau, Gabriel Pwamang and Professor Nii Ashie Kotey.


Background

On May 16, 2008, the La Traditional Council filed a suit at the Accra High Court claiming possession of the 49,420.53 acres of land which had been acquired by Agric Cattle and Lakeside Estate Limited.

In January 2009, lawyers for the plaintiff amended the writ and replaced La Traditional Council with the La Divisional Council.

The writ went through several amendments and at the end the plaintiffs had become Nii Obodai IV, La Mankralo, on behalf of the La Stool, SFA Limited and Fodas Estates Limited.

The defendants were Agric Cattle, Santeo Mantse (Atta Quarshie), Kantamanso Mantse (Nii Otoo Laryea), Nungua Mantse (Nii Odaifio Welentsi II) and Lakeside Estate Limited.

Decisions

In its judgement, the High Court declared 2,911.53 acres of the disputed land as the rightful possession of the defendants and the remaining 46,509 acres as the rightful possession of the La Stool.

Dissatisfied, the defendants filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

On March 28, 2018, the Court of Appeal upheld the appeal and reversed the decision of the High Court, declaring the whole land for the defendants.

It was that appeal that was also appealed at the Supreme Court by the La Stool and the other plaintiffs.