The Chief of Kwahu-Nkwatia, Nana Boama Ayiripe II, known in private life as Samuel Boamah Danso and three of his elders have been convicted by the Koforidua High Court in the Eastern Regional capital for contempt of court.
His kingmakers thus, the Akyeamehene, Nana Kissi Toasakyi, Nana Sarfo Kantanka – Nkwatia Adontenhene, and the Nkwatia Werempewa, Nana Osei Antwi Boasiako, have been ordered by the Court to vacate the Nkwatia palace within three days ending at midnight on Monday 5th June 2023.
They were awarded a cost of GH¢20,000 by the Presiding Judge, Gifty Dekyem.
This follows a previous ruling delivered by the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs in 2021 which ordered the Registrar, Richmond Perseus, to forcibly eject him [Samuel Boama Danso] after he allegedly occupied the Nkwatia palace and claimed to be the chief of the town, which they failed to oblige.
Aside from the order to eject the self-acclaimed chief, the Registrar was also to seize all properties belonging to the Nkwatia stool.
Following the challenges thrown against the self-acclaimed chief over his alleged occupancy of the Nkwatia palace, Samuel Boama petitioned the National House of Chiefs to block the decision by the Regional Judicial Committee to halt him, a development that prevented him from moving out of the palace.
But the applicants who were challenging his illegal installation at the Regional House of Chiefs filed a motion at the Koforidua High Court, to cite them for contempt over the failure to vacate the palace.
However, Justice Gifty Dekyem delivered the judgment after hearing the case that it was an established rule that an order of a court of competent jurisdiction whether considered erroneous, illegal, indiscreet, or irregular had to be obeyed.
The Judge said, “Accordingly, non-compliance with an order which amounted to contempt of court could not be justified on the ground that the said order was irregularly made or bad in law”.
She added that the proper thing for the aggrieved party to do was to question the order in the proper forum by a proper application.
The Justice said the defendant could not justify their disobedience and consequent contempt by their contention that the order was erroneous and therefore their appeal against the interim injunction had a good chance of succeeding.
According to the Judge, in the respondents’ view the order was flawed, and the proper thing to do was to challenge the order in the proper forum which they did by the Notice of Appeal lodged on 25 March 2021 at the Judicial Committee of the National House of Chiefs.
She said, “Their second ground of appeal was: That the Judicial Committee erred by granting a restraining order against the Respondents, including the 6th Respondent, Chief of Nkwatia – Kwahu, from dealing with or doing anything at the Chief’s Palace, Nkwatia in any manner whatsoever pending the final determination of the appeal”.
She explained that “The ground of appeal shows clearly that the Respondents were aware of the terms of the order restraining them from having anything to do with the Palace pending the determination of an appeal yet they did contrary to that”.
“There was no evidence suggestive of the determination of the appeal against the order of 24th March 2021 placed before the court. If the appeal was determined, there was no evidence to suggest that the order of 24th March 2021 had been set aside or declared invalid when the Respondents held an installation ceremony and a press conference on 30th October 2021 at the Palace contrary to the terms of the order,” the Judge stated.
“Respondents’ actions were not made in good faith. They simply turned a blind eye to the order and did what they were restrained from doing. This can only be a willful disobedience of the order,” she added.
She concluded in the ruling that “The court is satisfied that the Applicants have adduced evidence in proof of the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. They have amply demonstrated that (i) there was an order, (ii) that the Respondents knew what they were restrained from doing, and (iii) that the Respondents failed to comply with the terms of the order and that the disobedience was wilful”.
Samuel Boama Danso was illegally installed as chief of Nkwatia in October 2020 with a stool name Nana Boama Ayiripe II, by the Krontihene of Nkwatia – Nana Odei Tutu Ababio and a section of stool elders and kingmakers under heavy military and police protection.
But his installation was later challenged by the queen mother of the town, Nana Agyeiwaa Kodie II, and nine others at the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, and the council found reason in her application.
The petition was initially dismissed by the Judicial Committee of Kwahu Traditional Council on October 16, 2020, before the petitioners appealed at the Regional House of Chiefs.
They subsequently applied for an interlocutory injunction on November 20, 2020, against the respondent from carrying himself out as chief of Nkwatia, which has been granted in a ruling delivered on March 24, 2021, by the Judicial committee pending the final determination of the substantive case.
On December 15, 2021, the Judicial Committee chaired by its President, Nene Sakite, Konor of the Lower Manya Krobo Traditional Council, and four other traditional leaders after listening to both sides, decided to give the final ruling, but the plan was cancelled on the December 14, a day before without any reason.
They later adjourned the ruling date to February 2, 2022, but it was also cancelled at the last minute. It was further rescheduled to February 23, 2022, but was called off on a day before until further notice.
The protracted chieftaincy dispute rendered the Kwahu-Nkwatia Stool vacant for over five years after the death of Nana Atuobi Yiadom IV in 2016, who reigned for 60 years.
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