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29.10.2003 Regional News

High court to rule on Awoamefia case

By GNA
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Ho, Oct. 29, GNA - A High Court in Ho will on November 19 give ruling on a contempt case in respect with the Awoamefia Stool Affairs, which is before the Judicial Committee of the Volta region House of Chiefs.

Mr Justice Richard Apaloo, the Presiding Judge on Tuesday made the announcement following the conclusion of submissions by Counsels for both the applicants and respondents.

The applicants are Amega Kofi Togobo, Lieutenant Colonel Courage Togobo, Amega C.N. Kwawukume and Amega Seth Kwawukume. The respondents are Nyigblanua Eha II, Togbui Honi II of Klikor, Togbui Addo VIII, of Klikor, Amega Dotse Gaga Dosu Agboada and Amega Patrick Agboba both of Anloga.

In his submission, Mr Etsi Mensah, Counsel for the applicants said the respondents were in contempt of the Volta Region House of Chiefs because they had gone ahead to install and out-door a purported new Awoamefia of Anlo when there was a challenge against those actions and persons who allegedly carried them out.

He said by their action the respondents had made it difficult for the Judicial Committee to carry out the judicial processes into the matter and its final determination.

Replying, Mr Saviour Dzikunu, Counsel for four of the respondents, referring to a "1912 Account of the processes of installing, confinement and outdooring of the Awoamefia", the installation of the Awoamefia preceded his confinement and outdooring which, he described as "peculiar" to the Anlos.

He said once the Awoamefia-elect was installed, he assumed that position and that his subsequent confinement and outdooring were to "school him in the history, and traditions of the Anlos and for him to be introduced to the 36 towns constituting the Anlo State.

Mr Dzikunu argued that there was adequate notice to the whole Anlo State of the selection, installation, and confinement of the new Awoamefia, which were not contested by the respondents.

He said it was therefore, frivolous for the applicants to resort to the Judical Committee of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs to seek to block the outdooring of the Awoamefia as a result of which he had been kept in confinement for more than three years instead of six weeks. Mr Dzikunu said the affidavits of the respondents did not indicate specific acts, which constituted contempt and that each of the respondents carried out their traditional roles under the circumstances.

Referring to Togbgui Honi II, Mr Dzikunu said he was from the "rival Bate Clan" and could therefore, not be said to hand over the selected candidate which is from the "Adzovia Clan" to the Nyigblanua for confinement and also received him back from the Nyigblanua. On a letter purportedly written by Togbui Addo VII, informing the 36 Anlo towns and the President of the Volta Region House of Chiefs of the out-dooring of the new Awoamefia, Counsel said Togbui Addo, only carried out his function as a servant of the Anlo traditional Council as its acting President and that if there was any offence committed the Council and not Togbui Addo should be liable.

Mr Dzikunu said the new Awoamefia's peculiar circumstances placed him in a situation in which he could not prevent his out-dooring. Mr Dzikunu who made copious references to legal authorities said the Court had the prerogative of discretion given the special circumstances surrounding the case before it.

In the view of Mr Dzikunu, the Judicial Committee was guilty of "tardiness" and had ceased to exist over a long period on account of the expiration of its tenure and the inability of the House to constitute a new one in its place.

Mr Dzikunu said had the judicial Committee itself initiated the action for contempt before the High Court, the Court would be acting fairly in nullifying the grievance it brought against the respondents. He therefore, prayed the Court to do likewise in the case of the applicants and that if there was any contempt at all it is weakened by the peculiar circumstances surrounding its commission.

Mr Ernest Gaewu, Counsel for Amega Agboada, said his client who was blind only performed his traditional role as the one who pours libation in the Stool House of the Anlo state on behalf of anybody who asked that such a service be rendered for him.

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