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Supreme Court invalidates $16m ruling against Ghana Telecom

Ghana’s Apex Court has granted an appeal by Ghana Telecommunications Company, setting aside a previous ruling that awarded $16 million in damages to Ogyeedom Obranu Kwasi Atta IV, Chief of Gomoa Afransie. The ruling stems from a land dispute case that dates back to 2017 and marks a significant victory for Ghana Telecom in its ongoing legal battle.

The judgement, reported by graphic.com.gh, stated that in 2020, the Court of Appeal in Cape Coast upheld the High Court’s ruling on the case.

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However, in a brief ruling held on June 6, 2023, delivered by the acting Chief Justice, Victor Jones Dotse, unanimously overturned the Court of Appeal’s decision, along with all accompanying orders.

The detailed reasons for this verdict are expected to be revealed later today, June 7, 2023.

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The case involving a long-standing land dispute between Ghana Telecomm and the Chief of Gomoa Afransie, Ogyeedom Obranu Kwasi Atta IV, over a parcel of land at Gomoa Afransie took an unexpected turn as the Supreme Court recently ruled in favour of Ghana Telecom, formerly known as P&T.

According to the report, the bone of contention arose when Ogyeedom Obranu Kwasi Atta IV, acting on behalf of the Twidan Family of Afransie, filed a lawsuit against the company and the Lands Commission in 2015.

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The lawsuit sought a declaration of title, recovery of possession, and special damages amounting to $4 per square meter of the land, alleging trespasses and unlawful occupation.

In 2017, the Swedru High Court ruled against Ghana Telecom, awarding the Chief and the Twidan Family damages exceeding $16 million.

The Court of Appeal in Cape Coast sustained the High Court’s judgment in 2020 and even doubled the number of costs initially imposed on Ghana Telecom.
Ghana Telecom’s evidence demonstrated that the land had been compulsorily acquired in 1969, with payments made to the late predecessor of the Chief.

On the other hand, the Chief called upon two expert witnesses who claimed that the signatures on the documents were not authentic, suggesting that the compensation had been wrongly attributed.

Adding to the controversy, in March 2021, the Chief filed a petition with the General Legal Council, accusing his former lawyer of accepting a $100,000 bribe to influence the Supreme Court judgment. The lawyer vehemently denied the allegations.

After setting aside the previous judgments, the Supreme Court awarded costs totalling GH¢100,000 to Ghana Telecom, although the company’s lawyer had requested GH¢500,000. Acting Chief Justice Dotse presided over the case, with Justices Kotey, Owusu, Mensa-Bonsu, and Kulendi serving as panel members. Mr Ace Ankomah led Ghana Telecom’s legal team, while Mr Alexander Abban represented the Chief and his legal team.

This legal rollercoaster has captured the attention of many, and the Supreme Court’s decision has brought significant implications for all parties involved.

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