CHIEFS FIGHT JUDGE, In solidarity with Kumawumanhene
A section of chiefs in the Ashanti region are bracing themselves up to challenge a judgment of a Kumasi High Court as to the difference between a stool revenue and “drink money” also called “Aseda”.
They are not happy with the ruling of the court and therefore back the appeal by the Kumawuhene who has served notice per his solicitor, Lawyer William Kusi on the defendant against the whole ruling of the trial court on April 29, 2019.
The appeal filed on April 30, 2019 was on the grounds that the court erred when it held that the relief being sought by the plaintiff chief was to recover stool land revenue.
Counsel also indicated that the court erred when it held that the occupant of the Kumawu Stool had no capacity to sue in respect of the alienation of his stool land and for the fact that the court failed to comment on the alternative relief sought by the plaintiff and prayed the Appellate Court to set aside the ruling of Justice Samuel Obeng-Diawuo.
The aggrieved chiefs, who are pleading anonymity, fear their livelihood is being threatened by the decision of the court and further contend that if not challenged the decision of the court would go to deprive chiefs generally of their right to benefits accruing from land proceeds.
Referring to section 8 of the office of the Administrator of stool Lands Act, the chiefs contended that stool land revenue is different and distinct from the money usually called “drink money or aseda” that is paid to a stool when stool lands are acquired.
They explained that the drink money is the market value of the land and that it is different from stool land revenue.
The position of the court, they contended, is tantamount to deprivation of their right to such monies for grant or acquisition of land from the stool and must be reversed before the chieftaincy institution is crippled financial wise.
In a case in which Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua, Omanhene of Kumawu Traditional Area is claiming about GHc18,734,060.00 from the former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor for cultivating about 278,971 acres of land belonging to the Kumawu Stool without approval and without paying any consideration for them, the court presided over by His Lordship Justice Samuel Obeng-Diawuo on April 29, 2019, dismissed the claims by the plaintiff chief on the grounds that he had no capacity.
It (Court) said the lands in dispute were stool lands and that theGHc18,734,060.00 being the subject matter of the plaintiff’s claim is stool land revenue.
It was indicated that stool land revenue are regulated under the Administration of Lands Act of 1962 Section 17 and that there was the Office of the Administrator of stool Lands Act 481 of 1994 which deals with the collection, disbursement and management of stool land revenue and therefore makes the Administrator of Stool Lands with the Statutory authority to collect the said amount on the assumption that the demand is genuine.
The court upholding the claims of the defendant also took into account Article of 267 (2) of the Constitution which deals with the collection and disbursement of stool land revenue.
The former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, had debunked the claims of the plaintiff chief of Kumawu in his statement of defence and described them as false and defamatory and disputed the capacity of Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua to institute and sustain action on the basis that he (Omanhene) lacks the power or authority to sue in respect of stool land revenue.
The defendant stated that all the three parcels of land in question were given to him between 1996 and 2000 by the then occupant of the Kumawu Stool, first as a native of Kumawu and secondly for his unrivaled contributions towards the development of Kumawu including the donation of a brand new Toyota Pick-Up vehicle to the Kumawu Traditional Council to facilitate frequent patrols and protection of Stool lands, his instrumentality in the setting up of the Kumawuman Rural Bank, facilitation of several infrastructural projects including a market, six-unit classroom block, water treatment plant and the funding of a litigation involving Kumawu and Kwamang over Kumawu stool lands as some of the interventions at improving the standards of living for the people of Kumawu for which the lands in dispute were gifted to him by the late Kumawuhene and prayed the court to dismiss the suit as frivolous and unsustainable and declare him (Dr. Duffuor) as the rightful owner of the parcels of land in dispute.
He also prayed for an order of perpetual injunction to retrain the plaintiff and his agents from interfering with plaintiff’s title or interests in the said disputed lands.
But the aggrieved chiefs, in solidarity with the Omanhene of Kumawu, argue that the decision of the court should not be tolerated and expressed their full support for the decision of the Kumawuhene to appeal against the High Court ruling of April 29, 2019.