Wassa Fiase Traditional Area, a gold mining and cocoa growing community in the Tarkwa Nsuaem District of the Western Region, was over the weekend thrown into a state of ecstasy.
The development, Today gathered, followed a judgement by a Court of Appeal in Sekondi-Takoradi to reinstate the chieftaincy status of the Paramount Chief of Fiase, Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II, who was destooled by some self-seeking elders of the area, some 19 years ago.
In a statement of claim in a suit at the Sekondi-Takoradi High Court, the elders of the area in the persons of Nana Kwadu Kyerefo II, Nana Kobina Angu II, Nana Kwandoh Brempong, Nana Kwaw Amoah II, Nana Kwabena Gyan II, and Nana Ampong Kwasi II said that Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II had been slapped with a jail term over a contempt case and that in their customs and traditions a chief who has been jailed before cannot ascend the throne.
They also questioned the traditional capacity of the Queenmother of Fiase to appoint, elect and install his son who is Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II as a Paramount Chief.
That process, the elders described as “criminal and illegal,” which led to purported destoolment of Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II and subsequently the installation of Osagyefo Kwamina VI.
Consequently, the high court declared the default judgment against Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II without looking at the required customary and legal procedures of the destoolment and enstoolment.
Today, however, understands that Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II has appealed against the default judgement by the court of appeal in Sekondi-Takoradi.
But the appeal court presided over by Justice J.A. Osei, Justice P.K. Twumasi and R.T. Aninakwae in a unanimous decision declared judgement in favour of Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II after it had quashed the earlier default judgment by the Senkodi-Takoradi High Court against Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II.
According to the court of appeal, the default judgment against Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II was null and void after it found no merit in the decision of those elders to destool Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II without justifiable reasons.
Looking at the provisions in the old and new Chieftaincy Act, the court of appeal said it had realised that the destoolment of Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II did not follow traditional due processes because the elders did not support their statement of claim with an action of destoolment charge.
Following this latest development, the Judicial Committee of the Western Regional House of Chiefs (WRHCs) in its ruling dated December 4, 2018 struck out the petition filed by same elders on November 11, 2015 supporting the purported destoolment of Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II, who doubles as the President of Wassa Fiase Traditional Council.
In a four-page certified copy of the ruling by the Western Regional House of Chiefs and signed by its Acting President, Nana Kwesi Agyeman IX, which is in the possession of Today entitled: “Nana Kwadu Kyerefo II, Nana Kobina Angu II, Nana Kwandoh Brempong, Nana Kwaw Amoah II, Nana Kwabena Gyan II and Nana Ampong Kwasi II verse George Kingsley Ampong (styling himself as Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II),” it reads in part, “By this ruling, we affirm that judging from the evidence before us, there was compelling reason for us to conclude that the destoolment of Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II was illegal as due process of both customary law and procedures were all violated.
The ruling went on to state that “we again conclude that, lawfully though, that the subsequent enstoolment of Osagyefo Kwamina VI as the Paramount Chief of the area was also not proper as it didn’t follow proper legal and customary procedure.”
It stressed that “In the face of the above, Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko technically ought to be restored to his position.”
Meanwhile, Today is reliably informed that a directive has been issued to the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi to immediately re-insert the name of Odeneho Krukoko II into the register of the National House of Chiefs to justify his gazette as the legitimate and properly installed Paramount Chief of Fiase.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II commended the justices of the court of appeal in Sekondi-Takoradi, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Judicial Committee of Western Regional House of Chiefs for their efforts to reinstate his chieftaincy position as the Paramount Chief of Fiase.
According to him, his reinstatement affirms that the rule of law was working in the country, saying that he has been exonerated from all the charges preferred against him by the elders.
Story: Kwamena ASANSE
Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org