Prime News Ghana

Court convicts McDan for contempt over East Legon land dispute

By Primenewsghana
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The Chief Executive Officer of the McDan Group of Companies, Daniel McKorley, has been convicted of contempt.

Mr McKorley, popularly known as McDan, was hauled before an Accra High Court for disobeying orders of the court regarding a case of a disputed parcel of land at East Legon.

He was found guilty and was subsequently fined GH¢40,000.00.

He will serve 21 days in prison if he fails to pay the fine.

The trial judge, Justice Kweku Tawiah Ackaah-Boafo, also directed that the applicant be given GH¢15,000 out of the total fine to help him offset part of his legal costs.

“I hold the view that a case of contempt has been properly made against the respondent [McDan] herein both under common law and statute; that is Section 13(1) of NRCD 323.

“Undoubtedly, the applicant has met his onus of proving the respondents’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Consequently, I hold the respondent in contempt of court and convict him accordingly,” the judge said.

Justice Ackaah-Boafo used the opportunity to remind the public that the laws of the country work irrespective of one’s status or wealth.

“I wish to disabuse the popular imaginary of the notion that the rich and influential people in our society, together with public officials, can disregard the rule of law and then, when the wheels of justice catch up with them, proffer an apology.

“For that matter, in this case, my initial inclination was that a fine would amount to a mere slap on the wrist of the respondent and that incarceration is appropriate.

“However, having heard from both counsel and considered the passionate plea for leniency by learned counsel for the respondent and also taken into consideration the fact that this is the respondent’s first brush with the law, I am of the opinion that the imposition of a fine is appropriate,” he added.

The applicant in the case is Al-Hassan Iddisah. In May 2022, the applicant filed a contempt application after the respondent forcibly took over the land in dispute.

He accused the respondent, Daniel McKorley, of breaking the law by willfully disrespecting an order of the High Court and thereby bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.

According to the applicant, his late wife and mother are the actual owners of two plots of land at East Legon, Accra.

The two have had the land since 2002 until the respondent took over from them forcibly.

“Even though the respondent knows the interest of his family, contrary to the Rules of Court, he invoked the jurisdiction of the District Court, Madina, by an ex-parte motion to have possession of the lands.

“The application was granted, and with the assistance of the police, he (Respondent) took possession of the land,” parts of the applicant’s statement of claim read.

In view of the above, the applicant filed an application for certiorari to quash the order of the Madina District Court on the grounds of “want of jurisdiction, and/or excess of jurisdiction, violation of the rules of natural justice and nullity” and the same was granted by the High Court on June 9, 2020.

The applicant further said that notwithstanding the court’s ruling, the respondent remained in possession of the land and “is contumaciously developing the land”.

A penal notice and a copy of the ruling were filed for service on the respondent. However, all attempts proved futile.

An order was obtained to serve him by substituted service, a copy of the ruling and a penal notice.

But the applicant contended that despite the service of the order and the penal notice, the respondent continues to build on the land in flagrant disregard of the court’s order.

Therefore, he prayed the court to convict him and punish him since the respondent had no excuse to say he was unaware of the order because his lawyer was in court when the order was made.

McDan’s Affidavit In Opposition To The Instant Application

In a 16-paragraph affidavit, the respondent maintained that he had done nothing wrong to warrant punishment.

“I acquired a parcel of land situated at Mpehuasem from one Yaw Adomako Koduah sometime in the year 2016 and had (sic) since been issued with a Land Certificate numbered GA53817. See Exhibit “A”.

“Upon the said acquisition, I obtained an order from the Madina Magistrate Court to take possession of same which he (sic) did. I then started developing the land into apartments to be sold to prospective purchasers, and subsequently, the order was obtained from the Madina Magistrate Court, which was quashed on June 9, 2020.

“The ruling of the court was not brought to my attention in good time. It was only in March 2022, that’s almost two years before the ruling was brought to my attention,” he explained.

According to him, when the decision was brought to his attention, he had already “finished construction of the apartments and even sold them.”

He reiterated that it was not true he disobeyed the court. McDan maintained that the court’s order was not immediately brought to his attention.