Ogyeahoho Nana Yaw Gyebi II
A contempt case filed by Nana Nkua Anyima Kodom II, former chief of Bibiani, against Ogyeahoho Nana Yaw Gyebi II, paramount chief of Sefwi Ahwiaso traditional area, and another respondent, Charles Kwabena Frimpong, has been dismissed by the Sefwi Wiawso High Court in the Western Region.
It was indicated in the ruling that in 1997, four kingmakers of Sefwi Ahwiaso traditional area filed a case at the Sefwi Ahwiaso traditional council against Nana Anyima Kodom II who was then the chief of Bibiani for an alleged misconduct.
The four kingmakers prayed the judicial committee of the council to destool the chief of Bibiani, Nana Anyima Kodom ll, and the kingmakers won the case on September 9, 1999.
The former chief of Bibiani later appealed against the judgment at the judicial committee of the Western Regional House of Chiefs at Sekondi, indicating that he considered the trial to be fraught with inconsistencies to the extent that it could not stand as a decision worthy of acceptance.
Nana Kodom had judgment in his favour on August 3, 2004, setting aside the judgment of the Judicial Committee of Sefwi Anhwiaso traditional council.
He subsequently instructed his solicitors to serve notice of the judgment of the Western Regional House of Chiefs on the first and second respondents.
In effect, the applicant remained the chief of Bibiani and Krontihene of Sefwi Ahwiaso traditional stool.
While the retrial was on course, the applicant claimed that the first respondent, Ogyeahoho Nana Yaw Gyebi, who is also the president of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, went ahead to enstool the second respondent, Charles K. Frimpong, as new chief of Bibiani.
The applicant therefore went to the Sefwi Wiawso High Court to file an application for contempt against the two respondents.
Each of the two respondents also filed their affidavits in opposition to the charge of contempt, indicating that the issue was a chieftaincy matter and so the contempt case should be set aside.
In a ruling, the presiding judge of Sefwi Wiawso High Court, His Lordship Kwesi Kumah, said he was limiting his ruling to the confines of the provisions of the Chieftaincy Act 2008 (Act 769).
He mentioned that section 61 of the Chieftaincy Act sates: “A chief is not liable to charge of contempt of court in court proceedings because of an act done or statement made in good faith in respect of or during legitimate customary proceedings or practices which are not in wilful violation of a specific order of a court”.
“In my opinion and based on my understanding of section 61 of Act 759, for a chief to be liable for contempt of court, there is need for an applicant to prove beyond reasonable doubt”, he added.
He continued: “The applicant should have proved that there exists a specific order of a court which the alleged contemnor chief, a board member of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), had notice of but he wilfully violated the order”.
He added that the order of the Judicial Committee of the Western Regional House of Chiefs was for the retrial of the petition against the applicant by the kingmakers of the Ahwiaso traditional area.
The presiding judge told the court that the applicant failed to prove that the first and second respondents wilfully violated a specific order of the Judicial Committee of the Western Regional House of Chiefs in its judgement which was tendered in as evidence.
“Application is without merit. It is dismissed”, he pointed out.
A cost of GH¢20,000 was awarded against the applicant, Nana Nkua Anyima Kodom II.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi