An Accra High Court has dismissed a Suit filed by Nii Otu Akwetey IX, Chief of Katamanso against Kwadwo Asante Boateng, a business man and Nii Kojo Ashong III, over some 14,405.28 acres of land.
The said land, which became the subject of litigation was said to have been situated at Amrahia. However, the Plaintiff also claimed the land was situated at Katamanso and not Amrahia.
In a Statement of Claim in Suit No. SOL 4/2016, the Plaintiff describes himself as the Mantse of Katamanso and owner of land described in two previous judgments: Suit No L326/75 dated on 19 May 1980 in favour of his father and the other dated June 1, 2006 in Suit No. BL. 272/2006.
The Plaintiff, Nii Otu Akwetey IX, stated in his Statement of Claim that the said land was situated at Katamanso and not Amrahia and the said judgments referred to only lands at Katamanso.
According to him, he lodged a complaint with the Lands Commission and was informed that since the 1st Defendant was relying on a judgment of the court, there was nothing they could do until the said judgment was set aside.
Uncomfortable with the advice from the Lands Commission, the Plaintiff instituted the action at the High Court to have the said judgment set aside and for further orders for declaration of title and recovery of possession.
Meanwhile, the Defendant after entering appearance filed their respective Statements of Defence.
However, in his Amended Statements of Defence and counterclaim filed on his behalf, the 1st Defendant on 10 July 2017, not denying that the plaintiff is the chief of Katamanso, however claimed that the land in dispute is situated at Amrahia and not Katamanso.
The 1st Defendant also denied that the plaintiff is the owner of the land referred to in Suit No. L326/75 as in that Suit, the plaintiff’s predecessor Nii Laryea Akueteh VIII lost the action.
He, therefore, asserted that it was fraudulent for the plaintiff to claim that the said judgment made any declaration in his predecessor’s favour.
The Court presided over by His Lordship Justice K.A. Gyimah after considering both Statements of Claims and that of Defence, set down for trail a determination as to whether the plaintiff is the owner of the land which is the subject matter of the suit No. 326/75 between Nii Odai Ayiku IV vs Nii Laryea Akueteh VIII.
The Court also considered whether or not Nii Laryea Akueteh VIII lost in that Suit and whether or not Nii Laryea Akueteh VIII was the predecessor of the plaintiff in the Suit.
According to the Court, it was also determined whether or not the plaintiff fraudulently had 14, 405.28 acres of land plotted in his favour by the Lands Commission when the ex parte judgment he obtained in Suit No. BL 272/2006 instituted by Nii Akwetey IX for himself and one of the Nungua Stool Katamanso vrs the University of Ghana was only for 670 acres and whether the land of the suit is situated at Amrahia or Katamanso.
According to the 1st Defendant, Kwadwo Asante Boateng the Plaintiff does not have the capacity to litigate in respect of the land in dispute because suit No. BL 272/2006 declared a total acreage of 670 acres in the plaintiff’s favour and that the plaintiff cannot use the case as a basis to claim a total of 14,405.28 acres from the court.
The Defendant argued that the said judgment plan that was made pursuant to the suit is fraudulent as the Lands Commission could not have in good faith plotted land with acreage of 14,405.28 for the plaintiff when in actual fact, in the said judgment the acreage plaintiff ought to plot was only of 670 acres.
Kwadwo Asante Boateng also averred that in suit No. L 326/75 the plaintiff’s predecessor lost the said matter and cost of GHC450 was awarded against him, stressing that it was evident that the plaintiff could therefore not have plotted that judgment in his favour when his predecessor never won that suit.
The said plotting made by the Lands Commission has been by other courts as having been done fraudulently and the plaintiff can therefore not rely on it as the basis of any action.
Meanwhile in his ruling, His Lordship Justice K.A. Gyimah ruled that per his own statements, the Plaintiff admitted that the said judgments are the root of his title and his land has been adequately described in the said judgments.
The judge assessed the two judgments and pointed out that “the effects of fraud have been noted by the court in a number of decisions. Fraud vitiates everything and one cannot build anything on fraud.”
The findings of fraud, he stated, with respect of the “2006 judgment and the judgment plan drawn in respect of the said judgment have not been set aside and they stand against the plaintiff. Until set aside by a higher court, such a finding will forever prevent the plaintiff from litigating on the said judgments and judgment plan, it will therefore be an exercise in futility for this case to proceed to trial.”
The Judge said considering the evidences adduced from the statements and counter claims, the plaintiff’s action is “totally flawed as it has no basis on which it can stand on.”
He ruled: “The said judgments which form the fulcrum of the plaintiff’s action have all been held not to have given the plaintiff what he is claiming before this court. To all intents and purposes then the plaintiff does not have the capacity to litigate with respect to the land over which he has sued.”
The Court also awarded cost of GH¢5000 for the 1st Defendant and GHC3000 for the 2nd Defendant, against the Plaintiff whilst dismissing the action brought by the plaintiff against the Defendants.