Talensi: Chief, elders sue Shaanxi, 10 others over alleged dishonest land-lease deal

Shaanxi's yard in the Talensi District (left) and the forecourt of the High Court in Bolgatanga (right)

The mineral-rich parcel of land in the Talensi District where the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Mineral Processing Company Ltd has been occupying and operating for some years has come under a strong ownership dispute at the High Court in Bolgatanga, the Upper East regional capital.

The Chief of Namoalug, Naab Kolsong Na-Laam Nyuurib, and four elders of Namoalug, a community in the district, are in court with a claim that the land, said to be 71.16 acres in size, belongs to Namoalug and with an allegation that it was illegally acquired by the Chinese mining company with the aid of some 10 individuals from nearby Gban and Gaare.

Suing the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Mineral Processing Company Ltd, the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Company Ltd and the 10 native individuals— namely Pardnyoo Elijah Pubortaaba, Milim John Nabwomya, Biihinab Boarzee Puchihiyin, Namtibil Batami, Bawa John, Kudzie Kpana, Kutuombang Siegbil, Yinbil Zong, Soul Nauh and Bayagmah Wanzaahg— became the last resort after the Chief of Namoalug had petitioned the Talensi District Assembly to no avail regarding the alleged fraudulent lease of that land.

The Chief and the elders of the Namoalug Traditional Area took legal action after their petition to the Talensi District Assembly did not yield the desired results.

The elders joining the chief as plaintiffs include Dennilah Bulsong, Yambezinah Yidan, Yinbangit Teng and Bullah Kabasam. However, the lawsuit has not stretched or affected the age-old ties that bind the three communities— Namoalug, Gban and Gaare— in any way. They are still co-existing peacefully as they are much aware that the court case does not involve any of the communities but rather only the Chinese-owned companies and some individuals.

Application filed for interlocutory injunction

Meanwhile, one of Ghana’s celebrated legal authorities and counsel to the five plaintiffs, Dr. Peter Atudiwe Atupare, also has filed an application for interlocutory injunction to stop the Shaanxi Mining Company Ltd from operating on the disputed land whilst the case is being heard in court.

The Chinese company, in acquiring the said land, signed an agreement in 2013 to provide the alleged lessor (the Gban community) with a number of amenities and some endowments.

The promises include one 9-unit classroom block with two offices and two storerooms to be constructed in the community within the 2013/2014 academic year, five public places of convenience, scholarships for students, repairs and maintenance of a particular road within the community, provision of one library /ICT facility, priority of employment for members of the community, provision of a social centre and provision of “a dam”, reportedly referred to as “a pool” in the agreement.

“The facilities mentioned in paragraph 4 shall be provided starting with the school which shall commence 2013/2014, library/ICT 2015/2016, social centre 2017/2018 [and] pool 2019/2020.

“The agreement shall subsist for a period of 50 years commencing 18th June 2013 and ending on 18th June 2063. An amount of one hundred thousand Ghana cedis (Gh¢100,000) was agreed as the total cash component for lease of the land to be paid in full at the commencement of the lease,” states a contract paper endorsed by Naaba Pubotaaba Naabil (who was then the Chief of Gban) and Sienbil Nauh (the traditional priest of Gban at the time) on behalf of the Gban community and the Shaanxi Mining Ghana Mineral Processing Company Ltd.

As if by design, court hearing on the case began also on 18th June, 2020. The case has been adjourned to July 7, 2020.

By Edward Adeti, Upper East Region, Daily Mail GH

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