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08 August 2017

Court throws out Kumawumanhene’s suit challenging jurisdiction

The Asante Mampong High Court has thrown out a suit filed by the Omanhene of Kumawu, challenging its jurisdiction to hear a case brought against him.

Two members of the Kumawu royal family had gone to the court to challenge the inclusion of the name of Dr Yaw Sarfo in the chiefs register (Gazette) by both the Ashanti Regional and National Houses of Chiefs.

Dr Sarfo and the two houses of chiefs, filed a counter motion, arguing that the court was not clothed with the power to hear the matter.

The court presided over by Justice Francis A. Achibonga, however, ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the suit.

 Abusuapanin Kwaku Gyekyei and Opanin Kwabena Kodua in their writ filed on March 29, this year, are seeking a declaration by the court that the entry of Dr Sarfo’s name in the national register of chiefs was done through deceit, fraud and or falsehood and malicious fabrication.

They are also asking the court to order the cancellation of the gazette notification of Dr Sarfo and in the national register of chiefs, the name Barima Tweneboah Kodua – his purported stool name.

The plaintiffs are further seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining him from continuing to be in occupation or possession of the palace and its outer buildings at Kumawu, exercising the customary powers or functions of Kumawuhene and exercising the statutory powers of the Kumawuhene under the Chieftaincy Act (Act 759).

The pair again wants general damages for emotional pains, stress and financial expenses together with punitive cost, inclusive of counsel’s cost and fees.

Dr. Sarfo, the Regional and National Houses, after entering conditional appearance, on June 27, filed a counter suit praying the court to set aside or dismiss the plaintiff’s action for want of jurisdiction, and abuse of the court process.

Justice Achibonga after listening to the submissions by the parties ruled that, the case was not about the “cause and matter” of chieftaincy but against “fraudulent or false statement made on the chieftaincy declaration forms by Dr. Sarfo that there was no case pending against him at the time of filing the form, when in fact, there was a case pending against him and based on the allege false declaration his name was entered into the national register of chiefs”.

“It is this registration and its effects that the respondents are by this suit attacking and seeking the court to set aside and prevent Dr. Sarfo from acting based on the said registration”.

 Justice Achibonga said the respondents were seeking a nullification of the registration of Dr. Sarfo, based purely on administrative conduct of the National House of Chiefs and the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs, which resulted in his name entering the register of chiefs.

The court insisted that this challenge would not constitute a cause or matter affecting chieftaincy and that it has jurisdiction to hear the case.

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