The Abrewatia of the Yaa Ansaa Family of Akwamu, is alleging bribery against the judicial committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, headed by its President, Osaagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II.
The committee, last Wednesday confirmed Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, as the substantive paramount chief of Akwamu after six years in acting capacity, since 2011 when he was installed amidst controversy.
The judgment of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs on the two-and-a-half-decade-old Akwamu chieftaincy dispute that came before it for resolution was to end the dispute and make peace prevail in the area.
But an elder of the Yaa Ansaa Family, Love Edwo Among and several others, have expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling and alleged some members of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, have been bribed to rule in favour of the Botwe faction.
Love Edwo, who spoke to Class News, gave hints that her faction would appeal. Tension is said to be high in the Akwamu Traditional Area, especially Akwamufie.
The judgment, before it was given, attracted heavy police presence at the compound of the Regional House of Chiefs in Koforidua on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, for fear of possible violence between the two factions of Akwamu after ruling had been given.
They Yaa Ansaa Family, believe the judgment is faulty as it was induced by money. Insiders have mentioned two notable names from the area amongst them, is a hotelier and a restaurant operator.
A press conference is scheduled on Monday, in the area to lay some matters bare. The event will also see some rituals being performed by the Yaa Ansaa Family to invoke the spirits of their ancestors against those who collected the bribe, as well as those who offered it to buy the judge.
Reading the judgment on behalf of the House of Chiefs, Nana Gyankoma Djaba Mensah, a state attorney, said among other things that, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, was validly nominated, elected and installed Paramount Chief of Akwamu in accordance with the custom and practices of the people of Akwamu.
The protracted chieftaincy dispute was between the two factions of the Akwamu Black Stool – Yaa Ansaa and Yaa Botwe royal families – of which the former claimed to be the indigenous custodian of the stool while the latter was an alien.
However, the judiciary committee unanimously ruled the case in favour of the Yaa Botwe family, stating that it was eligible to ascend the Black Stool and, therefore, would hold no allegiance to the Yaa Ansaa family.
The judicial committee also slapped a cost of GH¢15,000 on the petitioners to pay to the respondents for “wasting” their time on the case.
The ruling got members of the Yaa Botwe side jubilating and Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, in his interaction with the media, showed gratitude to the people of Akwamu for their immense support towards the outcome of the case and called for both factions to reunite for development.
The coming days promises to be interesting times in the history of the Akwamu people.
The Yaa Ansaa family in 2013, felt slighted by what it described as ‘offensive statement from Daasebre Oti-Boateng, the immediate past president of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs’, that the dispute between the Yaa Ansah family and its opposing gate,Yaa Botwe, had been solved through an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra, Mr Albert Oppong Akoto, a spokesman for the family, said ‘the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family rejected the report from the panel of eminent chiefs of the Alternative Disputes Resolution because it was full of misrepresentations, lies and dishonesty’.
He said for over a period of 77 years, the Yaa Ansaa family had been denied the right to inheritance even though the Ansaa Royal family were the true custodians and overlords of the Akwamu Black Stool, and are the indigenous Akwamus.
The two parties have been battling each other in the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs and the law courts ever since the demise of Nana Kwafo Akoto II, the Akwamu Omanhene in 1992.The chief had ruled for 56 years from his installation in 1936, and served as the chairman of the Presidential Commission of Ghana in 1955. The chief had occupied the stool on the ticket of the Botwe family.
But 21 years after his death, the two families are yet to settle on who is best qualified to occupy the vacant stool.
After the death of Nana Akoto, the Yaa Ansaas attempted to enstool an Omanhene in the person of Kyeremateng Afranie.
He was restrained by the queenmother, Nana Afrakoma, through a court injunction not to perform as a chief.
Later, another person, Kwabena Owiredu, also known as Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, was installed by the Yaa Botwe family -an action Mr Oppong described as illegal as it did not involve the kingmakers of Akwamu.
These two installations, deepened the protracted Akwamu chieftaincy dispute.
The matter was referred to the National House of Chiefs, which referred it back to the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, when it was first ruled in favour of the Royal Yaa Ansaa family.
To find a lasting solution, Kuokoumu Omanhene, Nana Amoako Ababio Takyi, and Agona-Ashanti Omanhene,Nana Frimpong Anokye, urged the the parties to resolve the issue out of court and the ADR was agreed upon.
Reading from the report of the ADR process, he said Nana Afrokoma, apologised for illegally attempting to impose her nephew, Kwabena Wiredu, as the Omanhene of Akwamu Traditional Area, without consulting the overlords of the blackstool, the Royal Yaa Ansaa Family.
He said, in spite of this, the facilitators of the process led by Daasebre Oti Boateng, Nana Takyi and Nana Anokye, went ahead to declare the Yaa Botwe family custodians of the Akwamu stool.
“It is only in this case that a respondent apologises to petitioners for taking the wrong action and yet the respondents are declared winners of the case,” he said.
“As petitioners, we cannot understand why we should suffer after the accused person has openly accepted her wrong doing yet the panel members insisted Kwabena Owiredu is the Omanhene of Akwamu,” he lamented.
Delve into the report; he said it was fraught with several inaccuracies, including the fact that the Yaa Ansaa family was not represented by two signatories.
“Our Abuasuapanyin was not chosen to represent the family. It was the ADR that called for his inclusion. The family is aware he had hearing problem. Secondly, he is from a patrilineal lineage”.
That is not all. He said the report failed to capture the fact that the Abusuapanyin was destooled midway and the ADR panel informed accordingly but interestingly, the final report bore his signature.
He said those who signed the report did not have locus as kingmakers and wondered why the ADR panel could choose to elevate people to ranks they did not deserve.
Mr. Oppong, said even though Daasebre Oti Boateng, was asked to step down from the process because of allegations of corruption, he refused to do so.
“We want to remind all those who signed the report produced by the ADR panel that they have committed a criminal offence and would have to face the full rigours of the law.”
Adding his voice to the press conference, Nana Ansah Okomahene III, the acting Akyeamehene for the Akwamu Traditional Area, said it was difficult to reconcile the report of the ADR process with the reality on the ground since checks from the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, and confirmed by its Registrar, showed that Akwamu had no paramount chief.
He said, Daasebre Oti-Boateng, had failed to handle the case as expected because at the end, if justice had been done, the two parties would have met at a reconciliatory meeting with rituals, including the slaughtering of sheep to signify the end to the conflict but that never happened.
“As we speak, we are still in court, so how can one person be declared winner to a case which is still in court,” he asked.