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24.10.2005 Crime & Punishment

Court quashes Gomoa Ajumako Traditional Council ruling

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Agona Swedru, Oct 24, GNA - The Cape Coast High Court has quashed the ruling of the Gomoa Ajumako Traditional Council against Nana Kweku Otabil IX, Odikro of Gomoa Abrekum.

The court presided over by Mr Justice Tom Bentil, however did not award cost against the Judicial Committee of the Gomoa Ajumako Traditional Council, Nana Nyanful Krampah, President of the Council, Mr S E Arthur, Registrar and Nana Asare Ansah, Odikro of Gomoa Somanya, who were the respondents.

An order of Certiorari succeeded the judgement of the Judicial Committee delivered in 1st August 2000 in favour of Obaahemaa Nana Ekua Otwiwa and three others of the Nana Otabil Royal Family. The court stated that the judicial committee members was not properly constituted and since their decision affected the right of the applicant an order of Certiorari would lie.

It said that the purported appointment of the committee was void because it was contrary to the laid down requirement of section 28 (2) of Act 370 and section 3(1) of LI 798.

In the instant case, the High Court by way of prohibition restrained the committee members from adjudicating over the case in reference under trees and to move the venue to Gomoa Afransi, which was disobeyed and went ahead and took evidence of one party and delivered judgement under the trees.

The second respondent, the Omanhene when he was served with the prohibition order, immediately changed the panel of the Committee and prevailed upon them to hear the case and delivered judgement in absence of Nana Otabil, which broke the rule of Audi Alterem Partem. The respondents were found to be in contempt for disobeying lawful orders restraining the committee from adjudicating over the matter. The facts that gave rise to this application were that Nana Ekua Otwi and three others preferred destoolment charges against Nana Kweku Otabil IX.

The three-member panel started hearing the case at Gomoa Ajumako and in the course of hearing some malcontents threatened the life of Nana Otabil as well as the members of the committee.

The applicant petitioned the Registrar of the traditional council to change the venue for the sittings but he and the committee wrote to the Registrar of the Central Regional House of Chiefs confirming the malcontents and asked for permission to continue with the hearing of the suit at Gomoa Afransi.

The applicant therefore prayed the court to quash the judgement on the grounds of breach of Audi Alterem Partem Rule and natural justice, equity and good conscience.

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