An Accra High Court (General Jurisdiction Division) has set March 16 to deliver its ruling in the case in which Odeopeor Martey Kodjoe Awah IV, Paramount Chief of the Shai Traditional Area, has sued the Shai Traditional Council for contempt of court.
The court, presided over by Justice Afua Norvisi Aryine, fixed the date yesterday after lawyer for three of the respondents had prayed the court to dismiss the application with cost.
According to Ankmah Mensah, the application seeks to commit the respondents for contempt on account of their membership of the Council.
He stated that per the applicant’s own recollection and deposition, the act was to be carried out by the Council and not the respondents.
Mr. Mensah argued that it was wrong for Odeopeor Awah IV to cite the respondents merely because they were members of the council and not because they had willfully disobeyed a court order.
The lawyer indicated the Shai Paramount Chief ought to have served the respondents in their personal capacities.
A-G Boadu, lawyer for the chief, wants the court to commit Nene Nornor Sordji V, Acting President of the Council, to prison for disobeying an order of the court instructing him to place the applicants’ name on the Register of the National House of Chiefs.
He stressed that the President of the Council, in doing so, demoted his client, who is the Paramount chief of the area, to the level of a Divisional chief.
The chief, known in private life as Solomon Akwetey, Nene Sordji V, also sued Nene Agyeman Kukubour V, member of the Standing Committee of the Council; Nene Aku Djagbletey V; Nene Paddy Narh Wayo I; Mankralo Okopor Tesa IV, [members] and Jessey Okpoti, Registrar.
Mr. Boadu, as a result, wants the court to commit the respondents for contempt and sentence them to “long prison terms and to process the application to the National House of Chiefs.”
Odeopeor Awah IV said after his installation, he made an application to the Shai Traditional Council for his name to be placed on the register of chiefs.
He stated that he obtained a Mandamus order from the High Court compelling the council to process his application within 10 days.
The Shai Paramount Chief said although the respondents had been served with the order from the court, they flatly refused to respect the court’s order.
The applicant disclosed that the action of the applicants was calculated to undermine the authority of the court.
Nii Akwei, in the affidavit in opposition, admitted that his clients had been served with the committal for contempt, adding that “we have filed and sent to the Regional House of Chiefs Chieftaincy declaration forms concerning the applicant.”
He stated that the contempt application was misconceived and that Odeopeor Awah IV “should have conducted a search instead of taking this cavalier step.”
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson