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30.03.2004 Crime & Punishment

JAK's 'Nephew' Fined ¢10m

By Ghanaian Chronicle

... For contempt

The Tema High Court, presided over by Ms. Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, has fined Abubakar Kwaning, an estate developer and managing director of Millennium Company and Buildaf Construction, ¢10 million, for contempt of court, for breaching an injunction the court had placed on a disputed land.

The court earlier sentenced Abubakar (deponent), who, The Chronicle learnt, had been parading himself as a nephew of the President, John Agyekum Kufuor, to two weeks imprisonment for the offence, but had to change its initial judgment to a fine, after counsel for Kwaning filed an ex-parte motion for a review of the sentence.

In an affidavit to support the motion filed to the court, Kwaning pleaded that the two-week sentence be reduced to either a fine or a caution and discharge because "he had learned his lessons and would never disobey the orders of the court."

The case was that early this year the Okpon We (Family) of Teshie, who own a stretch of land at Ashaley Botwe, a suburb of Accra, led by their head of family Prof. David Osabukle, a university lecturer in Canada, filed a writ at the Tema High Court to restrain Abubakar Kwaning, who had bought part of the family land from unknown people, from developing it.

The writ further stated that Kwaning, who claimed ownership of the land, having employed armed land guards, made it difficult for the rightful title holders (Okpon We) to enter and develop their bona fide property.

The High Court, after sitting on the case, placed an injunction on the land, barring both parties from any further development on it until the case was determined.

While the injunction was pending, The Chronicle learnt, Kwaning defied the court's order and engaged his workers and land guards to work on the land.

The members of the Okpon Wei on hearing about this development had wanted to confront Kwaning and his workers, but were advised to seek the assistance of the police to effect the order.

They consequently sought audience with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Nana Owusu Nsiah, who, according to document in the possession of The Chronicle, instructed his chief of staff, ACP J. Oppong-Boanuh, to write to the commander of the Nima police station to see to the implementation of the court order to forestall trouble.

The commander at the Nima police station upon receiving the letter from his superiors invited both parties and asked them to respect the court's order to maintain peace.

But Kwaning did not heed to the advice of the police, and rather continued to develop the land, under the protection of his land guards.

The Okpon We of Teshie therefore referred the matter to the Tema High Court, citing contempt of the court's order by Kwaning.

Judge Ms Ackah-Yensu heard their plea and sentenced Abubakar to two weeks imprisonment for contempt for disobeying the court's order.

After spending five days in prison, Abubakar went back to the court and filed an ex-parte motion, pleading " he being the Deponent had learnt his lesson and would never disobey any order from the court, that I was under the misapprehension that the order of the High Court did not affect me and apologize for my conduct."

For these reasons he appealed to the court to review the conviction of two weeks to either a fine or caution and discharge.

Unfortunately, the court could not sit immediately but after some days it finally sat and fined Kwaning ¢10 million for the contemptuous act.

Abubarkar Kwaning is alleged to have been boasting that he is a nephew of the President, John Agyekum Kufuor (JAK) and had been intimidating and harassing people with his name.

He is also alleged to be using the President's name to engage in phoney business deals.

A source close to the President's household told The Chronicle that while he was doing a contract job during the renovation of the President's house early in 2001, Kwaning seized an opportunity and took a picture with the humble President, and it is this picture he had been using to create the impression that he was a relative of the President.

It was learnt that Kwaning's activities in the name of the President had been a source worry to the President's household, especially the first lady.

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