The Commercial Division of Koforidua High Court has quashed the destoolment of Chief of Akyem Hemang Osabarima Prof. Mirikissi Apori Atta by the Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin –President of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council on July 1, 2019.
The Court presided over by Her Ladyship, Mrs Justice Cecilia N.S. Davis in a 32 page Judgment delivered on April 3, 2020, declared that the decision by the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council as announced by Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin destooling the Chief of Akyem Hemang for failing to appear before the council is ” null and void and of no legal effect and the said decision is quashed”
The Court also awarded a cost of Ghc 10,000 against Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council and Okyenhene in favour of Chief of Akyem Hemang.
On Monday 1st July 2019 Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin announced the destoolment of Akyem Hemang Chief at Ofori Panin Fie for failing to honour his summon over complaints of uncustomary conduct and harassment of the people of Dome and Gyampomani, and also his alleged unlawful claim of ownership of lands in the two Villages.
The decision to destool Akyem Hemang Chief was taken in the presence of Daasebre Boamah Darko-Adontenehe and Kukurantumihene, Daasebre Asumadu Appiah, Oseawuohene and Akyem Wenkyihene, Members of Kyebi Executive Council and Purported Kingmakers and representatives of Hemanghene.
Libation was subsequently poured, and Sheep slaughtered as a symbol of customary validity to the destoolment of Akyem Hemanghene.
But in an application for judicial review in the nature of certiorari filed by the Applicant -Osabarima Prof. Mirikissi Apori Atta to quash the destoolment decision, he explained that, on 21st May 2019, he was invited to meet the Kyebi Executive Council (an advisory body constituted by Okyenhene), on 3rd June 2019, ”on matters concerning the claim of ownership over Dome Land”.
However, his inability to appear before the council was not deliberate as he had then travelled outside the country and so he directed his lawyer to write to the traditional council which was duly done but surprisingly read in the media his destoolment by Okyenhene.
He said the genesis of the decision to destool him albeit uncustomarily, was as a result of his resilience in fighting illegal logging and mining within the Akyem Hemang stools despite all odds and powerful hands behind it.
He, therefore, described his destoolment as against natural justice, bias, unfair, uncustomarily and sheer display of power. He pointed out that his destoolment by Okyenhene without pressing charges against him is unlawful and an error of law.
In an affidavit of opposition, the lawyer for the respondents therein-AKyem Abuakwa Traditional Council and Okyenhene said the Applicant failed to show that it was the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council and Okyenhene that conveyed the meeting that decision of his destoolment was reached.
The respondent added that the application is not maintainable since the
Okyenhene who was sued as an interested party in his capacity, is not amenable to the High Court”s supervisory jurisdiction, in as far as his decisions are concerned, that, he is not being a public officer, judicial officer or person acting judicially, therefore, his decisions are not subject to judicial review.
The court however maintained in the judgement that after analyzing all evidence before it, it is evident that Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amotia Ofori Panin announced the decision of the destoolment of the Akyem Hemanghene, in his capacity as Member and President of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council and the decision of the destoolment of Akyem Hemang Chief is the decision of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council, from the circumstances of the case.