Nana Kwaku Amoah II & Ors V. Nana Sir Ofori Atta & Ors (1933)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Concessions Ordinance—Enquiry into the validity of several concessions—Opposition from paramount chief claiming a one-third share of the rents—Condition inserted providing for the endorsation of the Paramount Chief’s claim if and when established at law—Claim eventually established—Jurisdiction of Court to insert condition—Power of Court to order endorsation.
The representatives of the Asamangkese and Akwatia Stools, both of which are subordinate to the Paramount Stool of Akyem Abuakwa, granted a number of diamond mining concessions to the Consolidated African Selection Trust Limited. When the latter applied to the Concessions Court at Accra for the issue of Certificate of Validity in respect of these concessions the Omanhene of Akyem Abuakwa appeared to oppose the validation of each concession on the grounds (1) that the assent of the Paramount Stool of Akyem Abuakwa was necessary to any alienation of their lands by the Subordinate Stools of Asamangkese and Akwatia, and (2) that the Paramount Stool was entitled to a one-third share of the rents payable under each concession.
The Concessions Court, with a view to avoiding delay and at the instance of the Omanhene and the Selection Trust, decreed the issue of a Certificate of Validity in respect of each concession subject to the insertion therein of the following condition :-
Nothing contained in this Certificate of Validity shall affect the rights or title of the Omanhene of Akyem Abuakwa on behalf of the Stool of Akyem Abuakwa in respect of which he claims :—Firstly, that the assent of the said Omanhene was necessary for the valid alienation of the land comprised in the said concession which assent was duly obtained by the said claimants but the necessity thereof disputed by the said grantors ; and secondly, that the said Omanhene is entitled to one-third part of all rents and profits reserved by and payable under the said concession which claim is disputed
by the grantors. In the event of any of the said claims, or any other rights Nana of the said Omanhene over or in respect of the land comprised in the said Kwaku
concession being hereafter finally declared in an action at law this Certificate Amoah II
of Validity shall be endorsed accordingly, and any rents and royalties to which & ors. the said Omanhene may be entitled shall be paid accordingly.”v.
Although the representatives of the Asamangkese and Akwatia Stools opposed Nana Sir
the insertion of this condition in all the Certificates of Validity which were issued, Ofori Atta
they did not appeal against its insertion in any single case.& ors.
The Omanhene commenced an action to establish the claims set out in the
above ” condition.” but it was eventually discontinued by consent and the
questions at issue therein along with several other questions at issue between his Stool and the Asamangkese and Akwatia Stools were referred to arbitration in the year 1929. After a lengthy arbitration the arbitrator (Hall, J.) awarded and adjudged (inter alia) that although the Paramount Stool of Akyem Abuakwa is not, according to custom, necessary for the valid alienation of lands held by the Asamangkese and Akwatia yet the Paramount Stool is, by the custom of Akyem Abuakwa entitled to receive one equal third share of all rents and profits of lands alienated by those stools or either of them.
The representatives of the Asamangkese and Akwatia Stools moved the Divisional to set aside the award, and had judgment given against them. From that judgment they appealed without success to the West African Court of Appeal and then to the Privy Council. The award being thus upheld the Omanhene had it made an order of the Supreme Court and then moved the Concessions Court ex parte for an order that each Certificate of Validity should be endorsed with a statement that his claim to a one-third share of the rent payable thereunder had been established. In doing so he relied on the condition set out above which had been inserted in each Certificate of Validity.
The Concessions Court made an order as prayed, and refused a motion by the representatives of the Asamangkese and Akwatia Stools to set it aside. The latter appealed from such refusal on the grounds (1) that the Concessions Court had no jurisdiction to insert the condition in any Certificate of Validity, and (2) that the Concessions Ordinance contained no provision under which such an order could be made.
(1) the question of the Concessions Court’s jurisdiction to insert the above stated condition in the Certificates of Validity was res judscata and could not be considered in these proceedings.
Held (2) the Concessions Court had power to make the order for endorsation under the Rules of the Supreme Court which apply to proceedings under the Concessions Ordinance.
The appeal was therefore dismissed with costs.