Regional News of Thursday, 24 July 2014

Source: GNA

Atuguba to pronounce judgment on July 29

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday, July 29, give judgement in the case between five chiefs from, five Traditional Councils and the Attorney General, Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands and the Ghana Revenue Authority.

A nine-member panel chaired by Mr Justice William Atuguba said the court should have given judgement in the case on Wednesday but, two opinions came up for deliberation.

He said by the next adjourned date, the court would have digested the opinions and conclude the matter, adding that, the case has been pending for too long.

The plaintiffs are Okofo Sobin Kan II, Acting President of Adansi Traditional Council, Nana Karikari Appau, Bekwaihehe, Bekwai Traditional Council and Nana Osei Kofi Abiri, Kenyasehene, Kenyase (No.1) Traditional Council.

The rest are Nana Odeneho Kwebena Nsiah Ababio, Kenyasehene, Kenyasi (No.2) Traditional Council and Nana Kwamena Enamil, Wassa Fiase Traditional Council.

The plaintiffs are praying the court to order the Ghana Revenue Authority or any other state institution or agency from performing the Constitutional and statutory functions clearly and expressly reserved for the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands.

They are also asking the court to give an order directing the defendants to account for the collection of royalties from the various mining companies, since January 7, 1993 and pay the total sum being the difference between what has been paid and what ought to have been paid.

The plaintiffs have also urged the court to declare that the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands has failed, refused or neglected to perform its constitutional and statutory functions under the 1992 Constitution.

Dr B.I Koray, Senior State Attorney, representing the Attorney-General said the plaintiffs are purporting to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court seeking reliefs in respect of matters relating to the collection and disbursement of royalties obtained from mining companies on stool lands.

He said they are alleging that the third defendant (Ghana Revenue Authority) has been performing the functions of the second defendant (the office of the Administrator of Stool Lands) in clear violation of the 1992 Constitution.

According to the Senior State Attorney, the chiefs have also alleged that, before the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution, the third defendant had been collecting and disbursing the revenue and other monies from the Stool Lands without any legal basis.

He said the matters which forms the subject-matter of the suit are within the jurisdiction of the high court and do not therefore warrant the invocation of the special and exclusive, original jurisdiction of the supreme court.

He said the mineral royalties are payable to the Republic and have been paid to the Republic since the coming into force of the Minerals Act, 1962, and that minerals were first vested in the republic.

“The relevant constitutional and statutory provisions which vest all minerals in Ghana in the Republic do not exclude minerals found in or under Stool lands,” he added.

He said the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands has not failed, refused or neglected to exercise its responsibilities and powers under the constitution.

Dr Koray prayed the court to, therefore, dismiss the application for want of jurisdiction.