Monday, October 8, 2007
TRIBUNAL DECIDES ON GA MANTSE, NOV 9
By: EDMUND MINGLE, DODOWA
THE Judicial Committee of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs will on November 9, decide on whether it will or not entertain a “submission of no case” by counsel for Dr. J. Blankson (King Tackie Tawiah III) in a suit in which the Ga State Akwashong Mantse (Supreme warrior), Nii Owula Kpakpa Brofonyo, is challenging the installation of Dr. Blankson as Ga Mantse.
The Committee adjourned the hearing last Friday, to enable it to take the decision following an objection by Mr. A.G. Boadu, counsel for the plaintiff, to a verbal application by Willie Amarfio, counsel for Dr. Blankson for a submission of no case.
This was after counsel of the respondent had finished cross examining witnesses for the petitioner. Nii Brofonyo is praying the house to nullify the nomination and installation of Dr. Blankson, contending that his nomination and installation did not follow approved Ga custom.
Mr. Boadu, objecting to the application, argued that the Judicial Committee had no power to entertain a submission of no case and should, therefore, not allow it.
If the counsel for the Ga Mantse is allowed to submit the motion and it is subsequently upheld, the case will be technically thrown out.
If the application is denied, Dr. Blankson would have to make a personal appearance at a hearing to defend himself. Since the beginning of the case, he has been represented.
Counsel for the plaintiff argued that the committee, as in other chieftaincy tribunals, was a fact-finding one and, therefore, allowing such a motion which could eventually end the case would not enable it to get to the truth.
He cited Chapter 22 of the constitution and sections 23 and 24 of the chieftaincy act which enjoin the Judicial Committee of the House of Chiefs to ensure that the necessary facts were found for effective resolution of chieftaincy disputes.
In addition, he said, the lower courts including chieftaincy tribunals do not have inherent jurisdiction as vested in the Supreme Court to decide on whether to entertain a submission in a chieftaincy matter has no precedence in the country.
Counsel reminded the committee that it would be breaching its mandate if investigating and resolving chieftaincy disputes if it entertained the motion, saying that the case before it needed to be determined by identifying the facts and the truth.
“We are dealing with the custom of a whole State and not just the destoolment of a single chief,” he said.
Counsel described the application for the motion as a “belated one”, asking why the counsel for the respondent would want to submit it in the middle of the case when it was the turn of the respondent to open his defense.
However, counsel of the Ga Mantse said that the argument by the counsel for the plaintiff was “untenable”.
He contended that there were no legal orders guiding submissions of no case in the lower courts, adding that “the fact that there was no precedent does not stop the committee from allowing it.”
The counsel is challenging the capacity of the petitioner in suing the Ga Mantse and has repeatedly described the petition as “fraudulent and bogus.”
When hearing resumed on Thursday after about a two-month break, counsel for the Ga Mantse also challenged the capacity of the third and final witness for the petitioner, Nii Ashitey Tetteh, the Asere Otsiame (Linguist), as genuine witness.
Although the counsel suggested that Nii Kpakpa Brofonyo was not the Ga State Akwashong Mantse, and Asere Akwashongtse, and that such a position did not exist, Nii Ashitey maintained that he had known the petitioner as such.
The Ghanaian Times Monday, October 8, 2007 Page: 4