Dr. Bridget Kafui Anthonio-Apedzi, Justice of the High Court 2 in Sekondi has admonished traditional rulers to respect the authority of the Judicial Committee of the Traditional Council as an institution of State.
She said the Judicial Committee was not only established by law, but one that embodied the country’s traditions.
Dr. Anthonio-Apedzi made the remark in a ruling on contempt application filed by Nana Kofi Nyankum IV for the committal of Ebusuapanyin Nyame Ntede Dasanyi, Mr Kofi Yalley (aka Nana Kofi Nyangum V), Mr John Panyin and nine others for allegedly committing a contemptuous act.
They were accused of wilful disobedience of the authority of the Ahanta Paramountcy and of the Judicial Committee of the Ahanta Traditional Council (JC-ATC).
The facts are that Ebusuapanyin Nyame Ntede Dasanyi instituted a Chieftaincy action on July 2, 2021, against Nana Kofi Nyankum IV and one Emmanuel at the JC-ATC, claiming that the conduct of Nana Kofi Nyankum IV necessitated his destoolment.
Some of the impugned conduct complained of are that the Applicant misplaced the Black Stool of the Akona Royal Family of Prestea.
Also, he failed, refused, or neglected to perform the Kundum Festival for over a decade.
The reliefs sought included an order for the Applicant and Emmanuel Amoo to render accounts of all proceeds received in respect of family properties and for inventory of the Akona Royal Family stool properties to be taken.
It is also for a perpetual injunction against the Applicant and Emmanuel Amoo from holding themselves out as Chief of Pretsia and Head of Akona Family of Pretsia, respectively.
According to Nana Kofi Nyankum IV, in spite of the pending suit, Ebusuapanyin Nyame Ntede Dasanyi wrote to various institutions that the Applicant had been de-stooled, and went ahead to install Kofi Yalley, as the new Chief of Pretsia under the name Nana Kofi Nyangum V.
Ebusuapanyin Nyame Ntede Dasanyi justified his action to install a chief despite the pendency of the case before the JC-ATC.
He asserted that the reliefs endorsed in the suit before the JC-ATC was not a suit seeking to de-stool the Applicant but rather it was filed in pursuit of the royal black stool and inventory of family resources and others.
The Court said it found the actions of Ebusuapanyin Nyame Ntede Dasanyi disingenuous for describing the very litigation he commenced before the JC-ATC for which he relied to allegedly destool the applicant as ‘so-called’ and ‘imaginary’.
The Court in its ruling said although there was no express order, which was disobeyed, the very conduct of Ebusuapanyin Nyame Ntede Dasanyi in installing a Chief after was a gross disrespect or disregard to the authority and administration of the Judicial Committee of the ATC.
‘The court described the conduct of the Ebusuapanyin as reprehensible,’ she said.
The Judge further said, ‘I must particularly condemn the conduct of Ebusuapanyin Ntede Dasanyi, treating the JC-ATC, a statutory institution with disdain and it is deplorable.’
She said the Court found him liable for contempt and fined him GH? 10,000.00 to be paid within 10 days of the decision or, in default, serve 14 days in imprisonment.
Mr. Yalley, who permitted himself to be installed by Ebusuapanyin Ntede Dasanyi was also fined GH? 5,000.00 or, in default, to serve 14 days in imprisonment.
She said Mr Panyin, who also affirmed his disregard for the matter before the JC-ATC was fined GH?2,000.00 or in default, to serve seven days imprisonment for his involvement.
The Court also ruled that the participation of the rest of the respondents in the contemptuous act was not proved beyond reasonable doubt (which was standard of proof in contempt cases), therefore they were not liable for contempt.
However, the Court directed that they should sign a copy of the ruling, to serve as actual notice to them and to guide them on their relevant future conduct.
Source: Ghana News Agency