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18.03.2009 Crime & Punishment

Chief jailed for contempt

By Daily Guide
Chief jailed for contempt

Nana Kofi Tandoh I NANA KOFI Tandoh I, the controversial Nkusuohene of Wassa Amenfi Traditional Area in the Western Region, was on March 11, jailed 21 days for contempt by a Tarkwa High Court presided over by Justice Adu Gyamfi.

Nana Tandoh was formally Nkusuohene of Asankragwa, but was later appointed Nkusuohene of Wassa Amenfi Traditional Area by Kasapreko Kwame Bassanyin III, Paramount Chief of Wassa Amenfi Traditional Area.

The judge made it explicitly clear that it was contempt for  Nana Tandoh I, by his conduct, to hold himself as Nkusuohene of Wassa Amenfi Traditional Area, when there was a case pending at the Court of Appeal to determine his position or otherwise.

The case began in 2001, when the paramount chief relieved Nana Tandoh I of his position as Nkusuohene of the traditional area for being arrogant and disrespectful to him.

Nana Tandoh filed a writ against the Omanhene at Sekondi High Court on March 23, 2005, for which the court said it had no jurisdiction, causing the case to be thrown out and the plaintiff advised to pursue his claim at the appropriate forum provided by law.  

Being aggrieved and dissatisfied, Nana Tandoh filed an appeal against the ruling of the Sekondi High Court and at the same time filed a petition at the Western Regional House of Chiefs (WRHC).

Kasapreko Bassanyin III also filed a prohibitive writ against the House, prohibiting the WRHC from hearing this matter.

A court presided over by Justice Robin Batu threw the respondent's (Nana Tandoh's) case overboard.    

According to the ruling by Justice Adu Gyamfi, Nana Tandoh was well aware that there was  a case pending at the Court of Appeal between him and Kasapreko Kwame Bassanyin III, Omanhene of Wassa Amenfi Traditional Council, to determine his position or otherwise as Nkusuohene of the said traditional area.

The Judge made it known that since the Court of Appeal is a higher court than the High Court, and had not pronounced its verdict; it was tantamount to contempt for Nana Tandoh to hold himself as Nkusuohene of the traditional area.

This was after Nana Tandoh held himself as Wassa Amenfi Nkusuohene during the 55th year enstoolment anniversary of the Chief of Asankragwa, Nana Ayani Buadum III. In the programme of activities, under RSVP, Nana Kofi Tandoh I styled himself as Nkusuohene of Wassa Amenfi Traditional Area; serving in that capacity as the Vice Chairman of the Planning Committee for the anniversary.

The court arrived at the conclusion that “the respondent was the vice chairman of the planning committee and the insertion of the Nkusuohene of Wassa Amenfi in the programme of activities, could not have been done by an overzealous clerk without the consent of the respondent”.

Justice Adu-Gyamfi added that Nana Tandoh was aware of the insertion, as no other person would be interested in conferring that title on the respondent which he did not have, therefore the respondent's deliberate action is in contempt of court and accordingly convicted him for 21 days.

From Sam Mark Essien, Tarkwa