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Court holds KMA liable for demolition of Anwomaso stores

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Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly

A Kumasi High Court has directed the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to apply to join the Oforikrom Municipal Assembly (OMA) as co-defendants in a suit over a disputed parcel of land. This is to enable the court effectively determine the case once and for all.

Nana Osei Boa III, the chief of Anwomaso, has filed a suit against the KMA for the demolition of about 22 stores constructed on a piece of land, hitherto under the control of KMA, which was demarcated for the construction of a Lorry Terminal under a World Bank funding.

The said construction is said to be unauthorised by the KMA in contravention of section 91 (1) of the Local Government Act 936 of 2016, which provides that “A person shall not carry out physical development in a district, except with the prior written approval in the form of a written permit issued by the District Planning Authority”.

The demolition followed a non compliance of a “Stop Work” order communicated to the chief by the Metro Works Engineer on July 11, 2017 or risk demolition and surcharged with the cost.

The July 11, 2017 “Stop Work” order was a follow up to an earlier one, dated December 13, 2016 following persistent calls on the chief to stop work on the reconstruction of Anwomaso market.

When it became evident that the chief would not heed to counsel to refrain from continuing with construction activities on the site, for the proposed Anwomaso Lorry terminal, another directive per a letter dated March 9, 2017 was issued.

The plaintiff, however, claimed by a letter dated March 19, 2017 that he was directed by the Manhyiahene of Otumfuo’s Lands Secretariat to go back to the site, because the dispute on the said land, involving the chief and KMA had been settled amicably.

As a result of the action, the KMA per its counsel prayed the court to substitute it (KMA) with the Oforikrom Municipal Assembly because the disputed land is located within the Kumasi metropolis.

A motion of notice by the KMA counsel on February 25, 2022 which was accompanied by an affidavit in support by Kwadwo Akuamoah Boateng, the Metro Co-ordinating Director of KMA, said all assets and liabilities of properties which were previously within the Kumasi metropolis had been transferred to OMA and that OMA is the proper entity to continuewith the prosecution of the suit since it is benefitting from the property in dispute.

But the court, presided over by Her Ladyship Justice Priscilla Dikro Ofori (Mrs.), dismissed KMA’s application to substitute it with OMA.

The court, in its ruling said the KMA, as the necessary partner is the proper institution to be sued and, therefore, cannot run away from the liability through the backdoor.

It said the application is a serious aberration of the legal process and had no merit hence its dismissal.

The court noted that the KMA still has a case to answer because of the role it played before the re-demarcation following the upgrade of Oforikrom into a Municipal status.

SEBASTIAN R. FREIKU

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