The Chief of Kwahu-Nkwatia, Nana Boama Ayiripe II, also known as Samuel Boamah Danso, and three of his elders have been found guilty of contempt of court by the Koforidua High Court in the Eastern Regional capital.
As a result, the court has ordered them to vacate the Nkwatia Palace within three days, ending at midnight on Monday, June 5, 2023. The Presiding Judge, Gifty Dekyem, awarded a cost of GHS20,000 in the ruling.
This conviction follows a previous ruling by the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs in 2021, which ordered the Registrar, Richmond Perseus, to forcibly remove Samuel Boama Danso from the Nkwatia Palace. Boama Danso had claimed to be the chief of the town, but the ruling stated that his claim was unlawful.
The Judicial Committee had also ordered the Registrar to seize all properties belonging to the Nkwatia stool.
In response to the challenges against Boama Danso’s illegal installation, he petitioned the National House of Chiefs to block the Regional Judicial Committee’s decision.
This prevented him from being evicted from the palace. However, the applicants who were contesting his installation filed a motion at the Koforidua High Court, seeking to hold him and his elders in contempt for failing to comply with the eviction order.
According to a report by Dailyguidenetwork.com sighted by GhanaWeb, Justice Gifty Dekyem delivered the judgment, stating that it was a well-established rule that orders of a court must be obeyed, even if they were considered erroneous or irregular. She emphasized that non-compliance with a court order amounted to contempt of court and could not be justified on the grounds of the order’s alleged flaws.
The proper course of action, she stated, would have been to challenge the order in the appropriate forum through a proper application.
The judge highlighted that the defendants could not justify their disobedience and contempt by arguing that the order was erroneous, as they had filed an appeal against the interim injunction. She noted that their actions demonstrated a willful disobedience of the court order.
The prolonged chieftaincy dispute in Kwahu-Nkwatia has left the stool vacant for over five years following the death of Nana Atuobi Yiadom IV in 2016, who had reigned for 60 years.