The secretary to the Paramount Chief of the Talensi Traditional Area, Richard Sunday Yinbil who doubles as the Upper East Regional Chairman of the Coalition of Concerned Teachers of Ghana, as well the assembly member for Gbeogo Kaare electoral area and the Chief of Baare, Naab Nyakora Mantii, were arrested and handcuffed on Friday in the courtroom of the High Court 2 in Bolgatanga on the orders of the presiding judge, Justice Alexander Graham.
Their arrests came after they had met with the judge in his chambers to deliver a message from the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang.
While the two men were in handcuffs in the courtroom, the judge narrated what the two men told him inside his chambers. He said they told him that the Paramount Chief of Talensi had sent them to tell him that he wished to meet with him on Saturday to explain in detail some cases the judge was handling. He said they told him the cases were about mining issues in the Talensi District.
The two men were charged immediately for contempt. They pleaded guilty and were convicted on their own plea. They were ordered to sign a bond of good behaviour for six months at the Upper East Regional Police Command.
Addressing the media after the two accused persons were taken to the Upper East Regional Police Command, the National Patriots against Injustice and Corruption Ghana (NAPAIC-Ghana) was full of praise for Justice Graham for exposing the scheme of the Tongraan.
Members of the anti-corruption group, who were in court at the time of the incident, gave details of the development in their press statement read by the group’s secretary, Zumah Tii-roug.
Below is a copy of the statement:
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, good evening. We wish to welcome you all to this all-important press conference organised by the National Patriots against Injustice and Corruption Ghana (NAPAIC-Ghana).
For the first time, we begin by saying that we are happy to share this good news from the circles of justice to you, dubbed “The Judicial Service is Working.”
The acting Upper East Regional Supervising High Court Judge, His Lordship Alexander Graham, has demonstrated that the laws of Ghana are supreme. This is so because this morning, at about 9:00 am today Friday, March 10, 2023, a serious piece of drama unfolded in his courtroom, High Court 2, where the Chief of Baare, Naab Nyakora Mantii, and Richard Sunday Yinbil, the Secretary to the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, were arrested after they had met with the judge, His Lordship Alexander Graham, in his chambers, apparently to influence the judge who is currently presiding over a mining-related suit.
The judge walked them out and ordered the court warrant officers (police) to arrest and handcuff them immediately. They were arrested and handcuffed immediately on the Judge’s orders. Subsequently, the judge instructed the Chief of Baare and the Secretary to the Tongraan to tell the open court what they had told him privately in chambers.
Ladies and gentlemen, shamefully, the Chief of Baare and the Secretary to the Tongraan became dumb and were shivering seriously. For three minutes, they could not utter a word before the court audience. Then, the judge said, “If you cannot tell the court, I will tell them.”
His Lordship furiously started by saying that he had issued warnings several times in his courtroom against people who might want to circumvent justice by visiting judges in their homes and in their chambers and that this act was common in the Upper East Region. He further stated that the Chief of Baare, Naab Nyakora Mantii, and the Secretary to the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Richard Sunday Yinbil, came to him in his chambers and told him that they had been sent by the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, to invite him (the judge) to his palace to discuss some mining-related cases which the judge was presiding over and for the judge to understand the cases before him. They further told the judge that the Tongraan was an accountant, a member of the Council of State, former board chairman of the Tema Oil Refinery, etc.
His Lordship Alexander Graham considered their act as a trap and contemptuous. The two (the Chief of Baare Naab Nyakora Mantii, and the Secretary to the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Richard Sunday Yinbil) were promptly charged with contempt of court. They pleaded guilty to the charge and were convicted on their own plea. Even before their conviction, the judge had asked that the two accused persons produce the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, in court today.
In fact, the whole bench of lawyers numbering about twelve, who were in the courtroom today on different cases from Sunyani, Tamale and Bolgatanga, pleaded profusely on behalf of the two accused persons and especially on behalf of the Tongraan. One Lawyer Mohammed from Gbewa Chambers in Tamale said the Tongraan said he had regretted his action and had asked him to intervene by pleading with the court to not give custodial sentence to the two accused persons.
The lawyer further stated that the Tongraan had regretted and said that he would not repeat such an act. Lawyer Jalaldeen of CHRAJ and Lawyer Issahaku Lawal of Legal Aid all pleaded for non-custodial sentence. Lawyer Mohammed Nambe, who is currently the lawyer for the Tongraan, also told the judge that it was even enough punishment by rebuking the accused persons in the open court and that they were first offenders and would not repeat the act.
Ladies and gentlemen, His Lordship Alexander Graham truly listened carefully to the lawyers and said the accused persons wanted to trap and destroy his job and if they had fallen into their own trap, why all these pleas from the lawyers. He further asked the lawyers what they themselves would do if they were judges in this contempt case. The whole courtroom was quiet like a cemetery.
Justice Alexander Graham is, indeed, deserving of the noble title “His Lordship”. He convicted the accused persons and asked them to sign a bond of six months and to be of good behaviour. He also directed that the bond should be signed before the Upper East Regional Police Command. The two accused persons were held in court custody from around 9.00 am to 3:18 pm before they were sent by police to the Upper East Regional Police Command.
We at NAPIAC-Ghana see the development recorded today within the Judicial Service of Ghana as one of the best actions led by a judge in the Upper East Region and we humbly would ask of him to do more. We also would love to suggest to the Chief Justice of Ghana to identify good judges like His Lordship Alexander Graham and award them enormously to serve as motivation for others to emulate and to make the vulnerable also receive deserved justice when the need the arises.
We are aware of the modus operandi of the Tongraan in trying to twist the arms of the law by using his positions and his agents like the accused persons who were exposed today. Ladies and gentlemen, think about the well-known Rockson Bukari Saga in which Hon. Rockson Bukari was caught in a recording saying the Tongraan had told him to kill a mining-related investigative story involving Shaanxi Mining Company Limited and a High Court judge, Justice Jacob Boon. This action of the Tongraan has become one too many. It is also a big dent on the Talensi paramount skin and we suggest that he refrains from such fishy dealings to avoid further embarrassment. We see this as a big embarrassment to the entire region.
Akobulgo Zotipeliba Ayeo
Read by: Zumah Tii-roug (NAPAIC-Ghana member and recorder)
Story by Gaspard Ayuureneeya