14 August 2014

Ghana: HFC, Estate Developer in Tango Over Appolonia Lands

Tema — An Accra High Court has refused to grant the HFC Bank Limited an injunction it sought to place on a real estate developer, Setho Classic Engineering Company Limited, to stop it from developing a 200-acre parcel of land at Appolonia.

The real estate developer, a couple of years ago acquired 200 acres of land from the chiefs of Kpone-Appolonia, who have a land title certificate covering that parcel of land for the sole purpose of building houses.

Since acquiring the 200 acres of land from the Appolonia chiefs, the Setho Classic Engineering Company Limited has been developing the land into residential accommodation for sale to members of the general public, some of which are currently being occupied.

But quite recently, the financial institution, which claimed it purchased the same parcel of land from another private estate developer, Naak Estates, to develop houses for the general public laid claim to the land.

HFC Bank Limited, therefore, filed a writ at the Lands Court Division of the High Court, praying it to grant an order of interlocutory injunction to restrain the estate developer, its agents, assigns and workers from developing any portion of the land in question.

In its statement of claim, the HFC Bank Limited explained that it acquired the 200 acres of land from Naak Estates Limited, a private estate developer on December 22, 2008.

It continued that it acquired the land in question to enable it construct houses for public servants, stating that it has already started putting up houses on portions of the land, most of which are at various stages of completion.

Plaintiff argued that the continuous development of the land by Setho Classic Engineering Company Limited would affect its planned operations, hence the need for the court to grant the injunction to stop the company from further development of the land.

However, Setho Classic Engineering Company Limited, in its statement of defense, noted that it purchased the land from the chief of Kpone-Appolonia, which is a sub-stool of Kpone Stool, which has a Land Title Certificate covering the said land.

The defendant argued that some years ago, one Nii Mensah Bossah ll, who sold the 200 acre-land to Naak Estates Limited, together with other chiefs, sued Nii Tei Adumua II, the late Appolonia Mantse and Nii Tetteh Otu ll, paramount chief of the Kpone Traditional Area and furthermore, applied for injunction to stop them from working on the said land, but the suit and the injunction application were both dismissed.

Dismissing the application, Justice S.H. Ocran of the High court, Land Division in Accra, stated that since Setho Classic Engineering Company Limited obtained the land from someone who has a land title certificate covering it and has already started developing the land, it should be allowed to proceed with the development.

"Since the plaintiff/Applicant has not been able to demonstrate that it has an interest which ought to be protected by an injunction, but the Defendant/Applicant has demonstrated that it had its land from persons with a Land Title Certificate, and they already on the land developing, the grant of this application will work more hardship on them. I therefore dismiss the application", Justice S.H. Ocran noted.


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