Foster Kwadwo Agyei Korang, a 45-year old Health Systems Manager of Happy Hospital in Berekum has been sentenced to 20 days in prison with hard labour by the Sunyani High Court for contempt of court in a disputed Nsoatre Chieftaincy case.
Also sentenced for the same offence are the Nifahene of Nsoatre Traditional Area, Nana Amoah Appiah and the Saanahene, Nana Amankwa who are said to have connived with the Queen-mother of the area, Nana Yaa Asuama-Kesse II to install Mr. Agyei-Korang as the chief of the town on the 15th and 17th of October 2021 when the King-makers of the town had already enstooled another person.
The two are also going to jail for 20 day in hard labour.
The court presided by Justice Patrick Baryeh in his ruling also fined the queen mother of the traditional area, Nana Yaa Asuama Kese II and her acting Queen mother, Nana Afia Gyamaah Gh 20.000 each or in default within seven days must go to jail for 15 days.
The Nifahene, Nana Amoah Appiah and Saanahene, Nana Amankwa are said to have connived with the queen mother to contemptuously install one Foster Kwadwo Agyei Korang as a rival chief of Nsoatre despite of a petition brought against them at the Bono Regional House of Chiefs by the plaintiff, Nana Obeng Effah Okokodurufo.
Counsel for the plaintiff, Asante Akwasi Foster prayed the court to convict the defendants since the queen mother and the rest exhibited or indulged in conducts intentionally and willfully calculated to enstool Agyei Korang as the chief of Nsoatre knowing the pendency of a petition at the Judicial Committee of the Bono Regional House of Chiefs.
He noted the queen mother intentionally and willfully undermined the administration of Justice amounting to contempt of court’.
It must be recalled that since the death of the late chief of Nsoatre, Prof Amoah Boakye Komansah II there has been in-fighting among some members of the kingmakers of the traditional council with the queen mother, Nifahene and the Sanaahene on one hand and the Krontihene and others, on the other hand.
According to lawyer of the plantiff, Foster Akwesi Asante, Nana Obeng Okukudrufo, the Krontihene of the Nsoatre Traditional area, Obrempong Hinneh Aframfo II the current Omanhene of Nsoatre traditional area was properly and duly installed by kingmakers of the traditional council in a peaceful manner in accordance with customs, tradition and culture of people of Nsoatre.
Thus, an attempt to install a rival chief, Foster Kwadwo Agyei Korang by the queen mother supported by Nifahene and Sanaahene spark in the face of tradition and customs of the people of Nsoatre so petitioned the Bono Regional House of Chiefs. He, therefore, prayed the court to convict the defendants for contempt.
The court thus presided over by Justice Patrick Baryeh upheld the motion by the plaintiff and consequently found them guilty of them offence and convicted them.
Facts of the matter
At the last sitting of the court on the case last December, Counsel for the applicants, Foster Akwasi Asante prayed the court to commit the respondents to prison for “exhibiting or indulging in a conduct, intentionally and willfully calculated to undermine the administration of justice enstooling or purporting to “enstool” Foster Agyei-Korang as Chief of Nsoatre” on 15th October 2021 at the family house of Nana Yaa Asuama-Kesse II, the Queen-mother of the area.
This, according to Lawyer Foster Akwasi Asante, happened at the time when the respondents knew “very well of the pendency of a Chieftaincy Petition filed at the instance of the 1st and 2nd respondents before the Judicial Committee of the Bono Regional House of Chiefs….”
He further argued, among others, that the action by the respondents was intentionally and maliciously undermining the administration of justice by treating with contempt all the court processes pending before the Judicial Committee of the Bono Regional House of Chiefs.
In their joint affidavit in opposition to the charges leveled against them, all the respondents denied that they enstooled the alleged parallel chief saying, “what took place on both days in October was not an installation or enstoolment…”
They contended that, “…..what took place did not involve any black stool or the Omanhene’s Palace. We did not go to Nsoatrehene’s Palace and the 4th Respondent was not “put” on the Black Stool. The Family House where the ceremony took place in Nsoatre had no stool room. What took place was therefore not an enstoolment.”
They further told the court that Foster Agyei-Korang remains a nominee of the Nsoatre paramount stool awaiting the final outcome of the chieftaincy proceedings commenced by the queen-mother of the area.
“The 4th Respondent has not been enstooled on the Hinneh Aframfo Stool and does not reside in the Nsoatrehene’s Palace and therefore what took place and has been tacitly admitted by the applicant was not enstoolment”, they added.
The Respondents, who were represented in the Court by Lawyer Nii Ayikoi Otoo, contended that “if the applicants are certain an enstoolment had indeed taken place they would not be using words in one “purporting to enstool” and in another breath “enstool” because in a quasi-criminal matter such as the one under consideration where proof is beyond reasonable doubt and doubts should be resolved in favour of the respondents.
Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo stated that what took place was just for the optics and it was a symbolic re-enactment of the nomination process and the oath was a symbolic one.