The Talensi Traditional Council (TTC) in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region, says an invitation extended to Justice Alexander Graham, a Judge at the Bolgatanga High Court ‘2’ by the Council was misconstrued.
Two members of the TTC, Naab Nyakora Maantii, a Divisional Chief of Baare and Mr Richard Sunday Yinbil, Secretary to the Council, were tasked by the Tongraana Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, the President of the Council to invite Justice Graham, to the Council to enable it to put its concerns on various land litigations in the area before him.
“The two members of the Council were invited to the Court premises by the Registrar, who ushered them in to see the Judge in his chambers. This was when the two members had previously notified the Registrar of the High Court of their intention to meet the Judge.
“The members explained their mission to the Judge for, and on behalf of the TTC, a development which did not go down well with His Lordship Alexander Graham,” the TTC in a statement signed by Naab Tampelgsong Kun Gaadzom, and copied to the media, said.
The statement from TTC said the two were convicted for contempt of court by Justice Graham and made to sign a bond of good behaviour for six months and emphasised that “The Council did not send the two members to go and influence His Lordship, Alexander Graham in any manner whatsoever.
“It was simply an invitation extended to His Lordship by the President, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, to see how best litigation on issues concerning lands can be addressed by the Council through its Customary Land Secretariat with the help of the Judge,” the statement said.
The statement further emphasized that “The two members of the Council did not go to the court to entrap the Judge nor influence his decision on cases pending before him since neither the Council as a body nor the Tongraan, Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, its President, is a party to any land case pending in the High Court or any other court in the region.”
The TTC reiterated that, “It was an invitation extended to the respected Judge in good faith and not intended to subvert the course of justice in any manner. The council regards the incident as unfortunate.”
It recalled in the statement that on June 25, 2022, Justice Graham referred a criminal case titled “The Republic verses Samuel Yin and three others, suit No, UE/BG/CT/B1/68/2022 emanating from land litigation at Duusi in the Talensi Traditional Area to the Tongraan to attempt a settlement and with the support of the TTC, the matter was deliberated upon.
“As recent as the 20th of October 2022, His Lordship Charles Adjei Wilson also referred a case titled Matthew Salimah and two others verses Bayata Laar and four others,” concerning a land dispute in the Tempane District involving natives of that district to the Tongraan and the TTC to attempt a settlement,” it added.
The TTC said in the light of these earlier referred cases, “It was the respectful view of the Council that no serious problem will arise, as there had been such collaboration in the resolution of cases. This well-intended gesture on the part of the Tongraan surprisingly did not sit well with His Lordship, Alexander Graham.”
The Council appreciates and understands the independence of the judiciary in the discharge of its functions as established by law. It also recognises the long-standing collaboration between the judiciary and Traditional Authorities in the resolution of disputes in the interest of peace and justice.
“Therefore, the Council will be the last entity to circumvent that tradition and legal practice for which reason the two members of the Council were charged and convicted for contempt of court,” the statement noted.