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17.08.2004 Regional News

Court issues warrant for arrest of Berekum chief

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Sunyani, Aug 17, GNA- A Sunyani Circuit court on Tuesday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Nana Okofo Dartey II, Gyasehene of Berekum Traditional Area for refusing to appear before it to answer charges against him.

Nana Dartey, Kofi Dartey, farmer, Clifford Okofo Dartey, unemployed and Michael Adu-Poku, trader, have been charged with three counts of abetment of crime, offensive conduct conducive to the breach of peace and drumming with intent to challenge or insult.

The three others, who appeared in court, pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were arraigned before the court and were remanded into prison custody to reappear on August 31.

Mr Kofi Debrah, the presiding judge, after listening to the argument of Mr Asomah Cheremeh, counsel for the accused and the prosecutor, said the issue before the court had nothing to do with the Berekum chieftaincy dispute but on public order.

"The accused persons need to be kept in custody for the sake of the breach of public peace", he stated.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Alex Yartey Tawiah, told the court that Kofi and Clifford are sons of Nana Dartey and lived in the same house at Berekum.

He said on August 9, this year, Nana Ofori Appiah II, Krontihene of the area and his faction in the chieftaincy dispute notified the police about their intention to nominate, elect and install Nana Atta Nyamekye as a rival Omanhene of the area on August 16.

The Police advised the organizers to postpone the event in view of the volatile situation in the area in accordance with section 1 (4) of the public act 491 of 1994, he said.

The prosecutor said Nana Ofori and his faction refused to comply with the police advice so the police on August 13, this year, applied to the circuit court at Fiapre, near Sunyani, with an ex-parte motion for an order to prohibit the holding of the event.

DSP Tawiah said the court granted the order and the Kingmakers involved were duly served and a public announcement made on FM stations in Berekum about the order.

He said the Police were reliably informed that the organizers were determined to defy the court order in a letter they wrote to the police and as a result police were deployed in the town.

The prosecutor said in the morning of August 16, the day of the intended installation, Nana Dartey aided and abetted the three other accused persons and some people now at large by encouraging them to conduct themselves in a disorderly manner by using threatening and insults with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.

He said the accused also distributed pieces of red calico to some people who started a procession in the streets of Berekum amidst talking drums inviting other persons to come out to commit the breach of the peace and to defy the court order.

DSP Tawiah said the police warned the people involved to stop and to observe law and order but they ignored the police, calling them names. The police arrested the accused persons but the others managed to escape and efforts made to reach Nana Dartey for investigations had proved futile, the prosecution said.

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