An estate developer, James Okine, has been accused of recruiting land guards onto a 1.625-acre land, situated at Katamanso in the Greater Accra Region.
According to a case that was filed by the State at an Accra Circuit Court on Friday, January 6, 2023, the encroached land is the property of Godrich Ardey’s family.
Although Okine was not in court due to ill health, three of the people he allegedly engaged to provide protection for the land were arraigned on the charges of conspiracy to commit a crime – unlawful protection of land.
The charges were contrary to Section 23(1) of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29), and Section 12 of Land Act 2020 (Act 1036).
The accused persons, Abubakar Issah, Kamack Yeboah Paa Kwasi, and Ali Amadu, have pleaded not guilty to the offences and were remanded by the trial court, presided over by Samuel Bright Acquah.
The court was also informed by the prosecuting officer, Inspector Bobie Ansah Da Costa, that the other accused persons – Stephen Okutu Kofi alias Kofi Santoe and Benjamin Djanker aka Asaa – are at large.
The court has ordered the prosecution to produce Okine on the next adjourned date, January 17.
Presenting the facts of the case, the prosecutor told the court that the case was reported to the police on January 3, 2023, by Godrich Ardey, a businessman.
As part of the report, he said, the complainant provided a Land Title Certificate covering the entire land size of 1.625.474 acres, which also bore his family’s name.
According to the prosecuting officer, the complaint was necessitated by the fact that Okine had allegedly “recruited land guards onto their family land, who protect him and his workers, while they unlawfully graded the land to commence development.”
He added that Godrich also presented a document to prove that his family had granted him the power of attorney to represent them, as well as to back his claims.
Inspector Da Costa said, per the complaint lodged with the police, the family has had the land in their possession for several decades, and had even leased portions of it to some estate companies without any challenges, until the arrival of Okine of Greenlake Estate.
The court was told that on January 5, the police visited the scene with the complainant, and found Kamack Yeboah and Ali Amadu using a bulldozer to grade the complainant’s family land under the protection of Abubakar Issah, Stephen Okutu Kofi alias Kofi Santoe, and Benjamin Djanker aka Asaa.
In the process, Kamack Yeboah and Ali Amadu were arrested. Okine later followed up to the police station and was also arrested pending investigations.
He said it was on this basis that the accused persons had been charged and brought before the court, adding that the police were working to arrest the others who on the run.