Many were those who knew the late John Mensah Sarbah as an illustrious lawyer, politician and educationist in the days of the defunct Gold Coast and modern day Ghana.
John Mensah Sarbah was the first lawyer of the Gold Coast that helped in the documentation of the customary laws of the Gold Coast and present day Ghana.
It has emerged that he was a business man par excellence who groomed his late father’s business in agriculture and mining merchandise in the Gold Coast era.
At the inaugural anniversary lecture and thanks-giving service in Cape Coast organized by the John Mensah Sarbah Memorial Legacy Foundation on the theme: ‘The life of legacy of John Mernsah Sarbah; education as a catalyst to economic emancipation’ came the business side of the late lawyer.
It is the aim of the foundation set by his descendants is to promote educational scholarships and digitally archived the works of the late John Mensah Sarbah.
The inaugural lecture was attended by the Minister of Information; Alhaji Mustapha Hamid, Mr. Supi Nkrumah Bentsi-Enchill of Aswells Chambers, Takoradi, Madam Anna Badu-Arthur – Mother of Nana Kobina Nketsia V,Nana Owiansa V, Gyantuahene of Anomabo Traditional Area Nana Kwamina Nyimfa IX, Adontehene of Oguaa Traditional Area, Alfred Kweku Ampah-Mensah – Vice President of Mfantsipim Old Boys Association of the Central Region and Nana Kwame Edu VI, Tufohene of Oguaa Traditional Area.
Telling the business story of the late lawyer, senior law partner, Kojo Bentsil Enchil said the late Sarbah was the greatest aggregate of an achiever in the Gold Coast and in present day Ghana in the lawyer profession.
The late father of the late Sarbah was a business man who traded salt among others, but he added that even though there is no clear evidence that the late lawyer totally took over his father’s business.
According to him, what was clear is that he operated his chambers from the late father’s office at the Commercial Street in Cape Coast.
‘’It cannot be said that the late lawyer did not engaged in any business because he was at a point prosecuted for invasion of Customs duties which had to be quashed by the then Chief Justice’’.
The learned lawyer said in 1908 to 1910, the late John Mensah Sarbah financed Cocoa farmers across the country.
He said the late lawyer readily made cash allowances to Cocoa farmers to push the economic development of the Gold Coast.
According to him, the late Sarbah was a visionary business man with a wide array of businesses ranging from palm Oil, Cocoa investment and mining in the Gold Coast.
He deduced that his business was a key driver for his journey to better the lots of his people and the Methodist church.
He was also an entrepreneur who set up two newspapers in the Gold Coast called The Gold Coast Nation and The Gold Coast Times with his money.
He revealed that when he died in 1910 there was evidence in his will that he had shares in Ashanti Obuasi mines out of which he left shares for his mother and sisters and part for his wife and children.
This is clear evidence to the effect that aside his legal profession, he had massive interest in education, politics, business and Agriculture.
He explained that he engaged in massive agriculture financing in the Gold Coast.
He touted the late lawyer as one who represented the largest number of three thousand cases at the Cape Coast Supreme court in his days.
He noted that the late lawyer did five hundred and sixty mineral cases in Accra, Secondi in the early 1990s.
Prof. Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Area in the Western Region in delivering the keynote address encouraged participants to emancipate and deconstruct their minds and share passionately the patriotism of the late John Mensah Sarbah, describing him as an embodiment of a deeply intellectual great son of the land.