Cape Coast High Court dismisses case against Paramount Chief
A Cape Coast High Court has dismissed a case by Nana Otubua Siripi II and Supi Sam Odonsu, Traditional Leaders of Effutu, seeking the court to expunge the name of Neenyi Ghartey VII from the National register of chiefs as Paramount Chief of Effutu Traditional Area.
Judgment was also entered in favour of Neenyi Ghartey, Paramount Chief of Effutu Traditional Area, National House of Chiefs and the Effutu Traditional Council, who were the defendants.
A cost of GH¢10, 000.00 was awarded against each of the Petitioners; Nana Otubua Siripi II and Supi Odonsu by the Court presided over by Justice Mrs Patience Mills-Tetteh.
In the said action, the two petitioners were seeking an injunction restraining Neenyi Ghartey from holding himself as a member and President of Effutu Traditional Council, to convene or otherwise to preside over any official meetings or perform any official administrative or traditional functions.
Nana Otubua Siripi, in his statement of claim, indicated that Neenyi Ghartey’s declaration which was used to have his name entered in the National Register of Chiefs was authenticated by Nana Kyekyebi Gyan, who was not a Chief nor a member of the Effutu Traditional Council and this amounted to fraud as well as a criminal act.
“My contention is that these are violations in the statutory requirement for the presentation of a CD Form IB to the Regional House of Chief,” he added.
According to Supi Sam Odonsu, he jointly instituted such action with the Nana Siripi II in their capacities as members of the Effutu Traditional Council because they were seriously aggrieved by the conduct of Neenyi Ghartey.
It was wrong for the Central Regional House of Chiefs and the National House of Chiefs to facilitate the entry of Neenyi Ghartey’s name on the National Register of Chiefs since his documents were fraudulent and incompetent, he added.
Hence, they took the action against Neenyi Ghartey, the National House of Chiefs and Effutu Traditional Council, alleging fraud in the registration of the National House of Chiefs Register.
The Court stated that the evidence that must lead to prove a crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, saying section 13 (1) of the Evidence Act provides that, in a civil or criminal action, the burden of persuasion as to the commission by a party of crime which is directly in issue requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Justice Mrs Tetteh said the two petitioners sued on account of their membership with the Traditional Council and yet they did not sue in a representative capacity, in other words, the traditional council did not empower them to sue on their behalf and, therefore, could not bring this action in their own personal interest as they did.
In Section (3) of the Chieftaincy Act, Act 370 which says “where the National House is satisfied”, with regard to the final decision, it lies with the National House of Chiefs which will then finalize the registration and not the Traditional Council which the Tufuhene and the Supi purported to represent.
The court stated that it was clear Neenyi Ghartey VII, the National House of Chiefs and the Effutu Traditional Council did not have any criminal intent.
It added that they clearly attempted to comply with laid down procedures for registration of CDF forms but the Plaintiffs frustrated them and the Research Committee of the Central Regional House of Chiefs, called the interested parties and resolved the issue.
Nana Otubua Siripi II and Supi Sam Odonsu did not adduce any evidence of dishonesty in the signing of CDF forms and no fraudulent acts had been proved by the plaintiffs beyond a reasonable doubt.
“As stated in the Republic V The President of National House of Chiefs, Exparte Akyeamfour II supra the work of the House of Chiefs is purely administrative and a flaw in that, administrative work will not reverse the instalment of the defendant as a chief neither will the consequence of that flaw lead to a restraining order in the functions of the duties of a chief, the court added.