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General News of Tuesday, 23 March 2021


Okuapehene to face 14 days jail term over contempt

Okuapehene, Odehye Kwadwo Kese Okuapehene, Odehye Kwadwo Kese

The ‘Okuapehene’ of Akropong-Akuapem, Odehye Kwadwo Kese together with one Abrewatia Lilly Agyemang have been convicted of contempt by a Koforidua High Court in the Eastern Region.

The two have been convicted by the court presided over by Justice Doris Dabanka-Bekoe to a fine of GH¢10,000 for which they risk spending 14 days in prison if they fail to pay the fine within seven days of the court’s judgment.

In a Daily Guide report sighted by GhanaWeb, the judgment comes at the back of a suit filed by Nana Afua Nketiaa Obuo II, the Ohemaa of Akuapem Traditional Area and Nana Kwesi 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 Judicial Committee in a ruling on April 30, 2020, nullified the nomination, selection and enstoolment of Odehye Kwasi Akuffo as Okuapehene, on grounds that the processes leading to his installation were not carried out in accordance with custom, hence were null and void.

Subsequently, the committee directed the Queenmother of the Akuapem Traditional Area, bestowed with the customary responsibility, to nominate a candidate to mount the Ofori Kuma Stool as Okuapehene to recommence the process of finding and installing a new Okuapehene.

She was to reconduct the nomination and selection process of a new Okuapehene 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 facts of the suit, however, Abrewatia Lilly Agyemang on May 1, 2020, in blatant disregard of the orders of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs Judicial Committee, nominated and selected Odehye Kwadwo Kesse for enstoolment as Okuapehene.

The High Court held that the Abrewatia acted without the involvement of the other five (5) senior female members, commonly known as Mmeampanyinfo, contrary to the directive of the Judicial Committee.

In the court's view, the unilateral act of Lilly Agyemang, thus by-passing the Queenmother of the Akuapem Traditional Area, who has the sole prerogative to nominate and select the Okuapehene, contravened the direct orders of the Judicial Committee, and constituted a contempt of court.

According to the suit, the respondents at all material times 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 Okuapehene.

The suit again states that the respondents must have known that the selection, installation and outdooring of Odehye Kwadwo Kesse as Okuapehene from May 1, 2020, to May 3, 2020, were acts that were in clear contravention of the orders of the Eastern Regional House of Chief.

The applicants thus prayed the court to find the respondents guilty of contempt and make any order determination it deemed fit.

The High Court after hearing the matter determined that Odehye KwadwoKese and Abrewatia Lilly Agyemang were guilty of contempt of court hence convicted them to a fine of GHc10,000 each, or in default go to jail for 14 days.

Daily Guide however reports that it is yet not clear if the contemnors have filed any process to challenge the decision of the court.

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