The family of the late Ga Mantse, Boni Nii Amugi II, Amugi We Stool Family, represented by its Acting Head, who is also a younger brother of the late Ga Mantse, Nii Yalai Yartey, has dragged the Acting President of the Ga Traditional Council, Nii Adotey Obuor, and six others to court, demanding accountability for various donations received in connection with the funeral of the late leader.
Others named in the suit are Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III, La Mantse, Nii Dodoo Nsaki II, Otublohum Mantse, Ga Traditional Council, Mrs. Bernice Bimpong, Registrar, Ga Traditional Council, John Sackah Addo, Managing Director of Prudential Bank Limited and the bank itself as second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh defendants respectively.
According to the Amugi We Family, the defendants, either by themselves or through their representatives received from the general public numerous donations towards the funeral of the late Ga Mantse Boni Nii Amugi II.
According to the plaintiffs, 'by custom and usage of all Ga-Dangme people, the body or corpse of a deceased person belongs to the father's side of his surviving family, whether a royal or stool family or not, but never to any Stool with which the deceased was associated, let alone to the divisional or traditional Council with which he was associated however closely, in his lifetime.'
They continued that such Stool, Divisional or Traditional Council has no more power, customary or otherwise than to assist and support such bereaved family if it so desired.'
Nii Amugi We contends that the GTC has no power, right or semblance of authority in Ga Dangme custom and usage to hold any chief out (as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Defendants have unlawfully and outrageously done at all material times since the late Ga Mantse's departure to his village) as the person or body in joint control with the bereaved family, or even sharing in the control of the funeral of the departed.'
According to Plaintiffs, the defendants, at various times received numerous donations in cash, large or small, often accompanied by gifts of drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic from for instance: Government of Ghana, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Bank of Ghana, and various banks; SSNIT, SIC and other insurance companies, foreign diplomatic missions, lawyers' associations, Churches and other religious bodies, educational institutions, NGOs, Media Houses, Hotels, Finance Houses, Ghapoha, breweries, cocoa processing companies, construction companies, trading companies and many others.
They contend further that whatever donations of whatever kind made or given to the defendants by sympathizers were received by them only for the use of the bereaved Amugi We Stool Family or in the alternative received Upon Trust for the bereaved family for the funeral of the late Ga Mantse Boni Nii Amugi II.
Amugi We Stool Family avers that even before the 27th January 2007 funeral date and from October 2006, the defendants, especially Nii Adote Obuor II, 'began to show a strange and unlawful reluctance, as the principal and highly publicized recipient of the said donations, to hand over any more cash than an initial miserly and wholly insufficient sum of ¢300 million to the funeral committee set up by the said bereaved family duly assisted, in accordance with Ga custom and usage, by the Ga Stool Dzaase.
The bereaved family members, according to plaintiff, had to contribute moneys and furthermore raise huge loans for the purposes of conducting the funeral of the said late Ga Mantse, in spite of the abundant donations in cash and cheques given or made to the defendants for the purposes of the funeral, which by custom should have been handed over promptly to the control of the bereaved family.
Amugi We Family argues further that the family managed to conduct a 'record-breaking funeral of enormous success in spite of the unlawful intransigence of the Defendants, who still continue to withhold the said cash and cheque donations from the bereaved family after the funeral on 27th January 2007, despite its continued demands for that to pay off the said loans for which creditors have been pursuing the family.