Magnanimity gone bad: Supreme Court saves man from losing Airport House to friend’s wife
"A transaction between two close friends got entangled in the vicissitudes of Ghana’s constitutional history with regrettable results."
The Supreme Court has declared one Tismark Inja owner of House No. 9, 2 Close at the Airport Residential Area, Accra, thus affirming judgments of both the Court of Appeal and High Court.
The five-member apex court panel, in the opinion of Mensa-Bonsu JSC, additionally gave him the recovery of possession from the appellants, who are the wife and daughter of his deceased friend.
Tismark Inja, who was the plaintiff at the court of first instance, is a friend and employer of the late Captain Timothy Laing, whose wife and daughter are defendants.
The plaintiff acquired the airport property and let his friend occupy it rent-free with his family. and also made the latter the MD of a company, Remco Shipping, which he formed with a foreign investor.
Unfortunately, the company got into some difficulties and was forced to fold up, and the airport property was confiscated.
Subsequently, a letter signed by the Chairman of the Confiscated Assets Committee asked the family of the late Captain Laing to vacate the property for onward release to the original owner.
Disagreements, however, ensued owing to the woman’s refusal to quit despite this letter and another signed by the Statute Reform Commissioner on behalf of the Attorney General.
The original owner, Tismark tried without success to recover the property from the woman, who insisted that her late husband had purchased the said property and made the first payment for it.
He thus filed an action at the High Court for recovery and won; however, Tina and Amelia appealed at the Court of Appeal and lost.
They thus went to the Supreme Court seeking to retain possession of the said property, arguing that the lower court erred in dealing with a matter that falls under the transitional provisions of the 1992 Constitution.
The appellants again questioned the power of the president to de-confiscate the said property in the face of sections 34(3) and (4) of the Transitional Provisions of the Constitution.
However, the Supreme Court established that the president had the power to convey the property to Tismark, thus dismissing the appeal as unmeritorious.
The court also awarded general damages assessed at GHC 50,000 and costs of GHC 30,000 to the respondent.
Read the full judgment on Dennislaw