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James Town Chief Restrained From Selling Stool Lands

Nii Kojo Ababio V, James Town Mantse
An Accra High Court has restrained the Paramount Chief of James Town, Nii Kojo Ababio V, and his agents from further selling stool lands without the consent of the principal members of the Traditional Council.

The court, presided over by Justice Anthony J. Oppong, took the decision following an application by five Principal Members of James Town to grant them an interlocutory injection to restrain their chief, agents, workmen and representatives from 'alienating or disposing of land of James Town Stool'.

The applicants are Nii Kwei Kuma IV, Nii Sackey Akumia VI, Nii Ade Nkpa VII, Nii Odarlai Bruce and Nuumo Borda III.

They had told the court that Nii Kojo Ababio in his capacity as James Town Mantse had been alienating and otherwise disposing of the stool property without consulting them.

The chief, through his lawyer, Adjei Lartey, denied the claims by his accusers in the affidavit filed.

The court, in its ruling dated November 12, 2014, granted the plaintiffs' request.

'In the circumstance, on the balance of hardship if this application is refused and it turns out that defendant unilaterally has been in fact alienating James Town Stool, Plaintiffs will suffer extreme hardship.

'On the other hand, if the application is granted and it is established that defendant after all has not been alienating or selling James Town Stool land, he (the Respondent) stands to suffer nothing. This view, coupled with the hallowed customary principle of law that an occupant of a stool cannot dispose or alienate stool property without the consent and concurrence of the principal elders, gravitate towards looking at this application with favour. In the circumstances, the application is granted as prayed,' Justice Anthony J. Oppong noted in his ruling.

The court action embarked upon by the Principal Members of the area, according to one Nii Armah, spokesperson for the youth, was provoked by the pleas of the youth who had threatened to go on rampage if the dissipation of the Traditional Council's resources by the Chief was not immediately brought to a halt.

He said the area has since the 35-year reign of their Paramount Chief seen little development, arguing that the situation was impacting negatively on their standard of living.

He said the youth were also not happy about the council of elders surrounding the 94-year-old chief.

'He has put around him people that he can manipulate and cannot say a word when he does something wrong. Those around him do not have the capacity and are not eligible to be where they are,' noted Nii Armah.

He said it was heartbreaking that proceeds from the sale of stool lands along the beaches in the area had allegedly not been accounted for.

In addition, he alleged that 42 acres of land situated at Dunkona around the West Hills Shopping Mall belonging to the stool had also been sold.

Further to that, the spokesperson said the youth were alarmed that the abandoned Plaza Cinema which belonged to the community has also been sold to a private financial entity without recourse to the interest of the locals.

'This cinema could have been redeveloped into a community centre to generate revenue to develop the area,' Nii Armah lamented.

Nii Armah told journalists in Accra that several pleas to the Paramountcy to listen to them had fallen on deaf ears, leaving them with no option than to turn to the Principal Members of the James Town Stool for redress.

Meanwhile, the Principal Members of James Town have warned that anybody who has acquired land around the West Hills Shopping Mall and belonging to the James Town Stool should stop developing it and contact the rightful owners before going ahead with the project.

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