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20.03.2009 Crime & Punishment

`Nkosuohene` of Asankragwa jailed for contempt

By Zam R. Samin Takoradi - Ghanaian Chronicle

A Tarkwa High Court, presided over by Justice K Adu Gyamfi has sentenced Nana Kofi Tando, the Development Chief (Nkosuohene) of Wassa Amenfi Traditional Area to three weeks imprisonment for contempt of court.

Nana Tandoh initiated a court action against Kasapreko Kwame Basanyi III, Paramount Chief (Omanhene) of Wassa Amenfi Traditional Area for destooling him at a Sekondi High Court when the relationship between the two became sour.

He sought a declaration from the court that the Omanhene's action in removing him as Nkosuohene was not customary and therefore null and void.

But the Presideing Judge, Justice Duose declined in his closing judgement that ”the Chieftaincy Act, the Court's Act and the 1992 Constitution confirm that the High Court has no jurisdiction to determine a matter concerning Chieftency”.

He said, ”the Plaintiff may pursue his claim in the appropriate forum provided by the law”, adding that “by this judgement, the High Court is blocked for him”.

Justice Duose said the appropriate forum for the Chieftency matters could only be at the Traditional Council and other courts created to handle Chieftency matters.

Again, Nana Tandoh obtained an order from the Sekondi High court prohibiting the Western Regional House of Chiefs from hearing the matter of the cancellation of the Nkosuohene by the Applicant.

But here, Justice Robin Batu, Western Regional Supervising High Court Judge wrote that -”The fact that a Paramount Chief is alleged to have acted contrary to custom in removing the interested party from his position as Nkosouhene, cannot constitute a basis for involving the original jurisdiction of the judicial committee of the Western Regional house of Chiefs.

However, on the 3rd of February, this year, Nana Tandoh went to a Court of Appeal to seek for the order of the High Court, together with orders as to costs to be set aside, and the appeal allowed and the Western Regional House of Chiefs directed to proceed with the hearing of the petition of Nana Tandoh.

Meanwhile, before the Court of Apeal could sit for hearing the appeal, Nana Tandoh styled himself as Nkosouhene during the 55th celebration of enstoolment of Nana Ayani Buadum III, chief of Asankragwa.