General News of Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Source: Daily Guide

NDC chairman Azorka Fined GH¢10,000 Over Stolen Property

The Northern Regional Chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sofo Awudu Azorka, was on Friday slapped with costs of GH¢10,000 by a Tamale Commercial Court B presided over by Charles Gyemfi for trespassing.

Mr. Azorka was reported to have unilaterally taken over a land belonging to someone, put up a sprawl of buildings and refused to hand over to its original owner until last Friday when the court ruled against him.

The court, in its ruling, placed a perpetual injunction restraining the NDC bigwig and his assignees from going or working on the disputed land without notice to its original owner.

Mr. Azorka, according to the facts of the matter, encroached on the land of the private investor, one Babs Ibrahim alias California, early 2009, soon after his party took over the reins of government and threatened the owner with death anytime the latter approached him to put a stop to development on the encroached land.

In defiance to warnings, he put up an ultra modern two-storey building on the land that was purposely earmarked for a 2-star hotel by its owner.

He was therefore dragged before the Commercial Court by the plaintiff who acquired the 2.67-acre land in 2001 at the Gbanyamili-Nabto residential area within the Tamale Metropolis, for commercial purposes, while in the United States of America (USA).

According to him, during one of his visits, he decided to acquire the land and so approached the chief of the area, went through the right processes and acquired the land and necessary documentation including its title and left it in the care of the farmer cultivating on it before its purchase.

Early 2009, the land was encroached and the farmer, he indicated, drew his (plaintiff’s) attention and demanded he comes to confirm if the encroached portion of land was not part of what he had been assigned.

It was while on the fact finding visit that he realized that the land had indeed been encroached by the NDC chairman who also claimed ownership and threatened to beat up the original owner or anyone who dared counter claimed on the said land.

The commercial court gave its verdict on the matter after almost four years of battling with several adjournments.

The judge, in pronouncing judgment on the matter, said the defendant presented fictitious documents to back his claim while his witnesses appeared not to be credible following a barrage of inconsistencies.

This, he noted, was a clear indication that he was not the original owner of the land, as the plaintiff had proven beyond reasonable doubt, his entitlement to the land with credible documentation.

Following the merits of the case, Azorka was completely barred from setting foot on the land as it constitutes a breach of the court’s verdict which gave Babs Ibrahim legitimacy to the land.

Daily Guide has gathered that counsel for the defendant is trying to negotiate with the plaintiff for both parties to reach a consensus on the amount of money invested on the current structure on the land.

But the plaintiff, when reached by the paper, said he is yet to decide whether to accede to the demands of such negotiations in respect of the structure on the land, disclosing that the protracted nature of the case has rally affected him.

According to him, no amount of compensation could cater for the resources and time lost in pursuing what rightfully belonged to him.

All efforts to talk to the defendant and his counsel proved futile but it is gathered they are working behind the scenes to have the plaintiff compensate them and take up the entire structure on the land.