16th July 2024

Samuel Boama Danso

A Koforidua High Court in the Eastern Regional capital delivered a ruling on Friday, 2nd June 2023, convicting Samuel Boamah Danso, self-proclaimed chief of Kwahu-Nkwatia, along with three other chiefs, for contempt of court. The ruling follows a previous decision by the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs in 2021, which ordered the forcible eviction of Samuel Boamah Danso from the Nkwatia Palace after he wrongfully claimed to be the chief of the town.

In addition to the eviction order, the court instructed the Registrar, Richmond Perseus, to seize all properties belonging to the Nkwatia stool. Samuel Boamah Danso had petitioned the National House of Chiefs in an attempt to block the Regional Judicial Committee’s decision, which prevented him from vacating the palace.

However, the applicants who challenged Samuel Boamah Danso’s illegal installation as chief filed a motion at the Koforidua High Court, seeking to cite the chiefs for contempt due to their failure to comply with the eviction order.

Her Worship, Mrs. Gifty Dekyem, the presiding judge, delivered the judgment, stating that the respondents must vacate the Nkwatia Palace within three days, ending at midnight on Monday, 5th June 2023. The court also imposed a cost of GHS20,000.00 against the chiefs.

Judge Gifty Dekyem emphasized that court orders, regardless of their perceived errors or legality, must be obeyed. She explained that non-compliance with a court order constituted contempt and could not be justified on the grounds of the order’s irregularity or alleged legal flaws.

The judge further clarified that if the respondents disagreed with the order, their proper course of action was to challenge it in the appropriate forum through a formal application. Disobedience of the order and subsequent contempt could not be justified by claiming that the order was erroneous and that an appeal against the interim injunction had a good chance of success.

Judge Gifty Dekyem highlighted that the respondents’ actions showed willful disobedience of the order. Despite their knowledge of the restraining order, they disregarded its terms by conducting an installation ceremony and holding a press conference at the Palace on 30th October 2021.

The court concluded that the applicants had provided evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to prove the allegations of contempt. The respondents were found to have been aware of the order, knew what they were restrained from doing, and willfully failed to comply with its terms.

Background:

Samuel Boama Danso was unlawfully installed as the chief of Nkwatia in October 2020 with the stool name Nana Boama Ayiripe II, with the support of the Krontihene of Nkwatia and some stool elders and kingmakers. However, his installation was challenged by the queen mother of the town and nine others at the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs.

The Judicial Committee initially dismissed the petition in October 2020, but the petitioners appealed to the Regional House of Chiefs. They obtained an interlocutory injunction in November 2020, preventing Samuel Boamah Danso from assuming the role of chief until the final determination of the case.

Despite several scheduled rulings, the final decision on the chieftaincy dispute was repeatedly postponed. The ongoing dispute has left the Kwahu-Nkwatia Stool vacant for over five years since the passing of Nana Atuobi Yiadom IV in 2016, who reigned for 60 years.

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