One of the subjects of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council, has taken a bold decision to drag their Paramount Chief, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin I, to court for hijacking some selected public roads in the Akyem Abuakwa Municipality, creating inconveniences to residents.
Kofi Akresi, the plaintiff, who is an indigene of the area, accused the Okyehene of abusing his powers as traditional ruler, as he “needlessly restrict movement of residents across public access and right of way”.
Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin, had taken over the public road, constructed huge high walls along it and gated it, thus denying a lot of his subjects access to their private houses and ancestral homes.
Some of the roads were recently asphalted in the Kyebi Township by the Akufo-Addo government with state funds in what appears to be a specialized arrangement to beautify the town which is the maternal hometown of President Akufo-Addo.
Aside the roads, it was some time ago, reported that the Ofori Panin Palace, was also going to go through a major refurbishment with Sir David Adjaye, Ghanaian-British architect, who designed the National Cathedral, said to have redesigned the palace.
A petition signed Mr Akresi, ahead of the lawsuit he filed against Okyehene states “since time immemorial, these streets (Oforiatta Street and Dokuwa Crescent) have provided unrestricted access to human and vehicular movements in Abukwa. The present improved states of the said roads in the Abukwa Township have been done with the use of public funds”.
Adding “I write to humbly draw your attention to effort by the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council to construct gates across selected streets, including the Oforiatta Street that provides direct access to my family home. This particular street has been used by all residents in my neighbourhood for over 100 years without any interference by any person or institution”.
The petition was copied Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin, who is the President of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta, an indigene, as well as the Municipal Chief Executive Officer of the Akyem Abuakwa Municipal Assembly, Kojo Ofori-Safo.
Following the disregard shown the petition, Mr Akresi, subsequently dragged Okyehene to court in Accra, citing the Ministry of Roads and Highways, as well as the Akyem Abuakwa Municipal Assembly in the suit, for encouraging the Okyehene’s ongoing impunity in the Kyebi township.
Kofi Akresi, argues that he considers the action by their Paramount Chief to erect two huge metallic gates at both ends of the public road as unlawful, and he should be forced to stop it immediately.
But despite the petition, the lawsuit and injunction, construction is said to be ongoing in blatant disregard for the law court.
According to Kofi Akresi, he perceives a potential and actual violation of the rights of residents of Akyem Abuakewa to freely commute across these selected gated streets, and this will affect him personally.
He noted that, the ongoing practice if not checked, could open the flood gates for other traditional leaders in other jurisdictions across the country to copy, citing for example; the James Town Palace, could also decide to put a gate across John Evans-Atta Mills High Street in Accra as a way of safeguarding its territories.
Mr Akresi, who is based in the US, but presently on holiday in Ghana, also accused the President of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council of constructing huge walls to separate so-called ugly houses from the view of his Palace.
He indicated that, several attempts through petitions to get authorities such as the Ministry of Roads and Highways, Akyem Abuakwa Municipal Assembly, including Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council itself to halt the construction, have yielded no result, forcing him to resort to a court action.
He also narrated how even after the Accra High Court granted him an interlocutory injunction for the contractor to halt the construction until final determination of the case, was allegedly ignored.
Other facts available to The Herald, reveal that recently, he was arrested by the Police in Kyebi, over an incident which allegedly occurred some five years ago, however, it was detected that the arrest was fuelled by his petition and lawsuit against the Okyehene, as the police investigators kept questioning him on the petition and the lawsuit.
After nearly eight hours in the custody of the Kyebi Police, he was set free upon the intervention of some prominent individuals in the town.
Meanwhile, The Herald is informed that Okyenhene through his lawyers represented by the Accra-based Yaw Oppong, are pushing for the case to be transferred to a court in Kyebi to be adjudicated upon, but Kofi Akresi and his lawyer, one Israel are resisting the temptation, insisting that justice will not be served in Kyebi, because the Okyehene will have his way.
At the last court session, the Okyehene was not in court. He was represented by one Daniel Marfo Ofori-Atta, mentioned as the Chief of Staff of the Ofori Paninfie –Kyebi.
The case comes on today, with the judge expected to decide whether or not it should be transferred to Kyebi court in the Eastern Region for adjudication.