Nana Obrane Frimpong, Twafohene of Konongo and Kwame Atta Kakra, a member of the royal Asona family and a nephew of the late Konongo chief, have filed a motion on notice for judgement in default of defence to a petition to the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs in October 17, 2022.
The petitioners are seeking orders of the Judicial Committee of the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs to nullify the purported installation of Dr. Albert Awuah Junior as the chief of Konongo.
Dr. Albert Awuah Jnr. was enstooled as the new Konongohene under the stool name of Nana Dr. Awuah Abedimsa II on August 22, 2022.
The petitioners contend that in October 2022, they instituted action against Nana Otuo Serebuor II, Juabenhene, Nana Oppong Agyare, Mr. Kwabena Dapaah Gyasi and Dr. Albert Awuah Junior as co-respondents over the enstoolment of the former Coordinator of the World Bank initiated Urban IV project, following the demise of Nana Batafo Akyeampong Nti II, the Konongohene, which rendered the Asona stool of Konongo vacant since January 15, 2022.
In the petition, filed on October 17, 2022 by Augustine Opoku, Esq of Dwumfuor and Dwumfuor Chambers on behalf of the Petitioners, they contended that the installation of Dr. Awuah (the fourth respondent) on August 22, 2022 at Juaben in Ashanti region is a nullity and wrong and the purported destoolment of late Konongohene is arbitrary.
Sensing undue delay in the determination of the petition, the petitioners conducted a search at the Registry of the House of Chiefs to see the way forward, only to discover that though the respondents have duly been served and entered appearance on November 24, 2022 they have not filed any statement of defence as at February 16, 2023 hence the motion for judgement in default of defence filed on February 21, 2023.
In an affidavit in support of the motion for judgement in default of defence, the petitioners argued that failure to file a defence to the petition is an indication that the actions defendants took on May 31, 2022 at Juaben were arbitrary without recourse to known Ashanti laid down customary and procedures, practices, usages, norms and tradition.
As a result, the petitioners have revisited the initial eight reliefs in the initial petition. They claim without the involvement of Konongo kingmakers the nomination and installation of Dr. Awuah, the fourth defendant, as chief of Konongo is a nullity and have asked for a process for nomination and installation to be restarted because the installation of Dr. Awuah on August 22, 2022 as Konongohene is not customary.
Among the reliefs being sought by the petitioners are a declaration that the rights of the applicants to be heard was breached and that the May 31, 2022 meeting at Juaben, presided over by the Juabenhene, Nana Otuo Serebuor, was not the appropriate legal forum to determine matters affecting status of chiefs in the Juaben Traditional Council under the 1992 Constitution and the Chieftaincy Act.
Other remedies being sought by the applicants are a declaration that no person has the jurisdiction and authority to make destoolment charges against a deceased chief who was never charged or tried in his lifetime; a declaration that the purported destoolment of the late Konongohene and his sub-chiefs is null and void and of no legal and customary effect and called for an order to set aside the unlawful act of the declaration of destoolment of the deceased Nana Batafo Acheampong Nti II and his sub chiefs and the consequential orders.
They said the Juabenhene could, therefore, not destool posthumously a recognised and gazetted chief who reigned from May 1981 to January 15, 2022 and should be accorded all the royal rites and protocols as a late chief.
They also want the Judicial Committee to prohibit the respondents and their agents from usurping the traditional functions of the Konongo sub-chiefs and interfering with the burial and funeral rites of the late chief and a further order to restraining the Juabenhene from interfering with the funeral celebrations of the late Konongohene stating that the funeral of the late chief of
Konongo has since stalled as petitioners and the Konongo Asona Royals and family have no access to the palace to conduct the funeral of the late chief as required by customary practice and usage because the palace has been locked up at the instance of the respondents.
The applicants, per their 10-page petition, argued that the Judicial Committee of the Juaben Traditional Council properly constituted is the only appropriate legal body to hear, adjudicate and determine matters affecting chieftaincy within the Juaben Council and the 1992 constitution and the Chieftaincy Act and Regulations and not a chief sitting in his palace.
The applicants contended that even though he is the paramount chief of the traditional council, the Juabenhene sitting in his palace is not clothed with the authority of a judicial committee of a Traditional Council which processes and proceedings are regulated by law and the rules of natural justice adding that being the chair of the Council of State did not grant him the right to deviate from statutory and customary law.
Referring to a Supreme Court ruling in BOAMPONG v. ABOAGYE AND OTHERS  GLR 927-943 that Juaben Stool cannot destool a Konongo chief in Juaben and that it is only the Konongo Kingmakers who can destool a Chief at Konongo, the petitioners argued that the events at Juaben on May 31, 2022 was a nullity and an attempt through the backdoor to reverse trite customary traditions, usages and judicial decisions.
Following these contentions, the petitioners assert that Nana Batafo Akyeampong Nti II died as chief of Konongo and should be laid to rest as a chief with all the royal courtesies and protocols as supported by previous decisions by Asanteman Council and the Courts that a chief or sub-chief cannot be destooled if they have not been found guilty of any wrong doing since no charge or charges have been preferred against any one of the sub chiefs before the Judicial Committee of the Juaben Traditional Council, which is the constitutional and legal body vested with authority to adjudicate on matters pertaining to chieftaincy within the Juaben Traditional Council.
They also referred to the ruling of the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II in the case of Ohenenana Akwasi Prempeh Versus Nana Juabenhene held at Manhyia Palace by the Asanteman Council on April 23, 2012 to the effect that “the authority that a chief is nominated and installed in Juaso, swears his oath of allegiance to his subjects in Juaso before being sent to Juaben to swear his oath to Juabenhene is the case and not vice versa,” for which reason Barima Safrotwie Sarpong II’s installation as chief of Juaso was nullified.