A High Court in the Upper East regional capital, Bolgatanga, has awarded costs of Gh¢4,000 against the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Mineral Processing Company Ltd and the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Company Ltd for failure to file Statement of Defence on time to Statement of Claim lodged against them by the Chief of Namoalug and four elders.
The penalised Defendants were expected to file their Statements of Defence within 14 days in an ongoing case of land ownership dispute. But their Statements of Defence were reportedly filed out of the time stipulated by the rules of the court. Therefore, the High Court Two, presided over by His Lordship Justice Asmah Akwasi Asiedu, accordingly awarded the costs against the companies.
The court also has granted permission to the Applicants’ lawyers— Dr. Peter Atudiwe Atupare, Douglas Seidu and Limann A. Mohammed— to serve a notice of application for committal for contempt on three Chinese-born directors of the mining companies— namely Wang Xingguo, Liu Xiaoquing and Fen Tielin out of the jurisdiction.
The directors have been cited for contempt because the companies purportedly continued to work even after the companies had been duly served with a notice of application for interlocutory injunction.
“The order is to be served on the aforesaid respondents within 21 days from today. The respondents will have to respond within 14 days upon receipt of this order,” said Justice Asiedu in a ruling.
He added: “I shall adjourn this matter to 3rd September, 2020, for same to be handled by the Vacation Judge. Hearing notices are to be served on the other Respondents as regards the adjourned date.”
The Chief of Namoalug, Naab Kolsong Na-Laam Nyuurib, and four elders of Namoalug— Dennilah Bulsong, Yambezinah Yidan, Yinbangit Teng and Bullah Kabasam— went to court with a claim that some vast tracts of land in the Talensi District, where the Chinese companies currently occupy and are said to be 71.6 acres and 17.264 acres large, belong to Namoalug.
The five complainants also claim that the Chinese-owned companies acquired the said land “illegally” with the aid of some 10 native individuals of Gbane. The individuals, who are also involved in the same court case for their alleged roles in the said deal, include: Pardnyoo Elijah Pubortaaba, Milim John Nabwomya, Biihinab Boarzee Puchihiyin, Namtibil Batami, Bawa John, Kudzie Kpana, Kutuombang Siegbil, Yinbil Zong, Soul Nauh and Bayagmah Wanzaahg.
A strong petition penned by the University-of-Ghana-accountant-turned-Namoalug-Chief about the “fraudulent” land-lease transaction had gone to the government before the chief and the elders, dissatisfied with how the Talensi District Assembly treated the case, turned attention to the law court.
It is also reported that there were attempts to resolve the dispute using traditional methods but the efforts failed before the disappointed traditional authorities at Namoalug resorted to writing a letter to the government to settle the matter.
“It is also imperative to note that the elders of Namoalug employed several traditional conflict resolution mechanisms to let Chief Pubouotaaba Naabil and these alleged leaders refrain from leasing and renting Namoalug lands to the Chinese company. However, it is sad to note that they failed to adhere to our plea as neighbours in resolving this fraudulent lease of our lands to the Chinese company,” the letter, dated 9th April, 2020, stated.
By Edward Adeti, Upper East Region, Daily Mail GH