A Koforidua High Court in the Eastern Region has convicted both the ‘Okuapehene’ of Akropong-Akuapem, Odehye KwadwoKese and Abrewatia Lilly Agyemang, for contempt of court.
The court presided over by Justice Doris Dabanka-Bekoe, after holding that the two were guilty of contempt, fined them each of them an amount of GH¢10,000.
The two risk spending 14 days in prison if they are unable to pay the fine within seven days of the court’s judgment delivered last week.
The judgment followed a suit filed by Nana Afua Nketiaa Obuo II, the Ohemaa of Akuapem Traditional Area and Nana Kweasi Omenako II, the Asonahene of Akuapem against the contemnors for blatantly ignoring the judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs.
The Committee on April 30, 2020, in its judgment nullified the nomination, selection and enstoolment of Odehye Kawsi Akuffo as Akuapehene, on grounds that the processes leading to his installation were not carried out in accordance with custom, hence were null and void.
The committee subsequently directed the Queenmother of the Akuapem Traditional Area, who is the person with the customary responsibility, to nominate a candidate to mount the Ofori Kuma Stool as Akuapehene. He would be required to conduct the entire nomination, and selection process all over again, in consultation with the Asonahene of Akuapem, on the grounds that “the process of nomination and selection is a matter purely for the Adehye of the Asona Clan, and no other person or entity.”
According to the suit, however, on May 1, 2020, Lilly Agyemang, in total disregard of the orders of the Judicial Committee, nominated and selected Odehye Kwadwo Kesse for enstoolment as Akuapehene.
The court held that Lily Agyemang did this without the involvement of the other five (5) senior female members, commonly known as Mmeampanyinfo, contrary to the directive of the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs.
The suit further stated that Lily Agyemang’s unilateral act of by-passing the Queenmother of the Akuapem Traditional Area, who has the sole prerogative to nominate and select the Akuapehene, contravened the direct orders of the Judicial Committee, and constituted a contempt of court.
The suit averred that at all material times, the respondents knew that the applicants had been dragged before court for committal proceedings, for ignoring the pendency of a motion on notice to restrain them from going ahead with the outdooring of Odehye Kwasi Akuffo and Odehye Kwadwo Kesse as Akuapehene.
Again, it averred that the respondent must be deemed to have known that purporting to nominate and select Odehye Kwadwo Kesse as Akuapehene whilst the suit was pending, constituted a contempt of court.
It further added the that respondents must be deemed to have known that the selection, installation and outdooring of Odehye Kwadwo Kesse as Akuapehene from May 1, 2020 to May 3, 2020, were acts in clear contravention of the orders of the Eastern Regional House of Chief.
The suit therefore, prayed the court to find the respondents guilty of contempt of court and to make any other orders it deemed fit.
The court after determing the matter found the respondents guilty of contempt of court and fined them GHc10,000 each, or in default go to jail for 14 days.
It is not clear if the contemnors have filed any process to challenge the court’s decision.