April 19, 2014 | Login | Register

Ghana Laws

CHIEFTAINCY ACT

1971 (ACT 370)

Section 1-National House of Chiefs.

(1) There is hereby established a National House of Chiefs.

(2) The membership of the National House of Chiefs shall be composed of five chiefs from each Region of Ghana elected by the House of Chiefs of the Region.

(3) The National House of Chiefs shall have a President who shall be Head of the National House of Chiefs.

(4) The President of the National House of Chiefs shall be a chief elected by the members of the National House of Chiefs from among their number.

(5) There shall also be a Vice-President of the National House of Chiefs who shall be a chief elected by the said House from among their number and who shall act as the Head of that House in the absence of the President and shall perform the functions of the President in the absence of the President.

(6) The Electoral Commissioner shall supervise any election of a person as President, Vice-President or member of the National House of Chiefs and he or any public officer nominated by him in writing shall be the returning officer for any such election.

(7) The body known immediately before the commencement of this Act as the National House of Chiefs shall be deemed to be the National House of Chiefs for the purposes of this Act.

(8) Any person holding the office of President or Vice-President of the said House or who was a member of that House immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to have been duly elected for the purposes of this Act with effect from the commencement of this Act.

(9) A person elected President or Vice-President or member of the National House of Chiefs shall hold office for three years but shall upon the expiration of his term of office be eligible for re-election, so however that no person shall be eligible to hold office as President for more than two terms in succession.

(10) No person shall be qualified to be President or Vice- President of the National House of Chiefs—

(a) if he has been sentenced to death or to a term of imprisonment exceeding twelve months without option of a fine or has been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or moral turpitude and in each case has not been granted a free pardon; or

(b) if he is adjudged to be a person of unsound mind; or

(c) if having been declared as an insolvent or bankrupt under any law for the time being in force in Ghana or in any other country he is an undischarged insolvent or bankrupt; or

(d) if being a person possessed of professional qualifications, he is disqualified from practising his profession by the order of any competent authority made in respect of him personally, not being an order made at his own request or within five years previously:

Provided that a person shall not be deemed to be disqualified under paragraph (a) of this subsection if 5 years or more have elapsed since the date of the conviction or the end of the sentence whichever is the later.

(11) Where a vacancy occurs in the office of the President, Vice-President or a member of the National House of Chiefs the Registrar of that House shall notify the Electoral Commissioner in writing of the occurrence of that vacancy within 14 days of such occurrence and the Electoral Commissioner shall, by notice published in the Local Government Bulletin and in such other manner as the Electoral Commissioner may think fit summon a meeting of the National House of Chiefs or the respective Regional House of Chiefs as the case may be, within twenty-one days after being notified of the vacancy for the election of a President, Vice-President or a member of the National House of Chiefs as the case may be.

(12) The Electoral Commissioner may by legislative instrument make such rules as he may think appropriate for regulating the conduct of elections of the President, Vice-President and members of the National House of Chiefs.

Section 2-Functions and Committees of National House of Chiefs.

(1) The National House of Chiefs shall have the functions conferred on it by article 154 of the Constitution and also such other functions as are conferred on it by this Act or as may be conferred on it from time to time by any other enactment.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the National House of Chiefs may appoint such committees comprising such persons as it may determine to assist it in the discharge of its functions and subject as aforesaid may delegate to any such committee such of its functions as it may think fit.

(3) Standing Orders made under section 4 of this Act may regulate the composition, tenure of office and procedure of such committees and may also make such other provision in relation to such committees as may appear to the National House of Chiefs to be expedient.

Section 3-Matters for Consideration and Advice.

The National House of Chiefs shall be responsible for advising any person or authority charged by the Constitution or any other enactment with any responsibility for any matter relating to chieftaincy.

Section 4-Standing Orders of the National House of Chiefs.

The National House of Chiefs may make Standing Orders for the regulation and orderly conduct of its business.

Section 5-Meetings of the National House of Chiefs.

(1) The National House of Chiefs shall meet for the dispatch of its business at such place and time as that House may determine but shall meet not less than twice in any year.

(2) The Registrar of the National House of Chiefs shall also call a special meeting of the House upon a request made in writing in that behalf and signed by the President of that House or not less than one-half of the total number of members of the House.



(3) No business except that of adjournment shall be transacted at any meeting of the National House of Chiefs at which there are present less than one-half of the total number of members of the House.

(4) The President of the National House of Chiefs shall, if present at any meeting of the House, preside at that meeting and in his absence the Vice-President shall preside and in the absence of the Vice-President a member of the House elected by the members present from among their number shall preside at that meeting.

(5) Any question arising for decision by the National House of Chiefs shall be determined by the votes of the majority of the members present and voting, and in the event of an equality of votes the President or other person presiding at that meeting shall have a second or casting vote:

Provided that standing orders of the National House of Chiefs may provide for the participation in the proceedings of the said House by a member through a representative and the casting of votes by proxy or by any other means of representation permitted by customary law.

(6) The validity of the proceedings at any meeting of the National House of Chiefs shall not be affected by any vacancy in the office of the President or Vice-President or in the membership of that House or by any defect in the appointment or election of any person holding such office.

Section 6-Regional Houses of Chiefs.

(1) There is hereby established for each Region of Ghana a Regional House of Chiefs.

(2) Each Regional House of Chiefs shall consist of such members as may be specified in relation thereto by legislative instrument made by the President acting in consultation with the Prime Minister.

(3) There shall be a President of each Regional House of Chiefs who shall,

(a) be the Head of that House,

(b) in the case of the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs, be the Asantehene, and

(c) in the case of any other Regional House of Chiefs, be a chief elected in the manner specified by an instrument made under subsection (2) of this section.

(4) There shall also be a Vice-President of each such House who shall be a chief elected by the members of that House from their number and shall act as Head of that House in the absence of the President and shall perform the functions of the President in the absence of the President.

(5) A President other than the President of the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs and a Vice-President shall hold office for three years and shall be eligible for re-election so however that no person shall be eligible for election as President for more than two terms in succession.

(6) Where the seat of a member of a Regional House of Chiefs becomes vacant and his successor is required by an instrument made under subsection (2) of this section to be drawn from a specified group of Chiefs—

(a) the Registrar of the said House shall notify the Electoral Commissioner in writing of the occurrence of the vacancy within fourteen days of such occurrence;

(b) a meeting of the group shall be convened by the Electoral Commissioner by a notice published in the Local Government Bulletin;

(c) subject to the following subsection, the meeting shall proceed to the election of a new member, who shall be taken to be elected if he secures a simple majority of the votes cast;

(d) the Electoral Commissioner shall cause to be published in the Local Government Bulletin notice of the result of the election which notice shall be signed by him or any public officer authorised by him in writing.

(7) An election shall not be held under subsection (6) of this section if less than one-half of the chiefs in the group are present and where—

(a) an insufficient number of chiefs is present, or

(b) no chief obtains a majority of votes cast,

the new member shall be nominated by the Regional House of Chiefs from among the chiefs in the group to which the election relates.

(8) A new member elected or nominated under subsection (6) or (7) of this section shall hold office for two years and shall then vacate his seat and any such member vacating his seat shall be eligible to fill the vacancy.

Section 7-Election of President of Regional House of Chiefs.

Where the office of the President of a Regional House of Chiefs becomes vacant and his successor is required by an instrument made under subsection (2) of section 6 of this Act to be elected from among the members or a specified group of members—

(a) the Registrar of the Regional House of Chiefs shall notify the Electoral Commissioner in writing of the occurrence of the vacancy within fourteen days after the said occurrence,

(b) a meeting of the Regional House of Chiefs shall be convened by the Electoral Commissioner by notice published in the Local Government Bulletin,

(c) subject to subsection (3) of section 11 of this Act the meeting shall proceed to the election under the supervision of the Electoral Commissioner or any public officer authorised by him in writing, by secret ballot of the President, who shall be taken to be elected if he secures a simple majority of the votes cast,

(d) the Electoral Commissioner shall publish the result of the election in the Local Government Bulletin giving the total number of votes cast and the number cast in favour of the successful candidate.

Section 8-Existing Regional Houses of Chiefs to Continue.

(1) The Regional Houses of Chiefs in existence immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to be the Regional Houses of Chiefs for the purposes of this Act.

(2) Until an instrument is made under subsection (2) of section 6 of this Act prescribing the membership of any Regional House of Chiefs, the membership of that House shall be as it was immediately before the commencement of this Act.

(3) Any person holding the office of Head or Deputy Head (howsoever called) or member of any such House of Chiefs immediately before the commencement of this Act, shall continue to hold such office subject to the provisions of this Act so however that any such person holding office as Head or Deputy Head shall after the commencement of this Act be referred to as the President or Vice-President respectively of that House.

(4) Where a person to whom subsection (3) of this section applies is required by this Act to be elected he shall be deemed to have been duly elected with effect from the commencement of this Act.

Section 9-Functions and Committees of Regional Houses of Chiefs.

(1) The authority of a Regional House of Chiefs shall apply within its Region.

(2) Each Regional House of Chiefs shall have in relation to its Region the functions conferred on it by article 155 of the Constitution and also such other functions as are conferred on it by this Act or as may be conferred on it from time to time by any other enactment.

(3) If any matter is referred to it by the National Assembly or the Minister or any authority charged by any enactment with responsibility for any matter relating to chieftaincy a Regional House of Chiefs shall give consideration to the matter and report on it as may be required.

(4) Subject to the provisions of this Act a Regional House of Chiefs may appoint such committees comprising such persons as it may determine to assist it in the discharge of its functions, and subject as aforesaid may delegate to any such committee such of its functions as it may think fit.

(5) Standing Orders made under section 10 of this Act may regulate the composition, tenure of office and procedure of such committees and may also make such other provision in relation to such committees as may appear to the House of Chiefs making the Standing Orders to be expedient.

Section 10-Regional House of Chiefs to Make Standing Orders.

Each Regional House of Chiefs may make Standing Orders for the regulation and orderly conduct of its business.

Section 11-Meetings of Regional Houses of Chiefs.

(1) Each Regional House of Chiefs shall meet for the dispatch of its business at such place and time as that House may determine but shall meet not less than twice in any year.

(2) The Registrar of each Regional House of Chiefs shall also call a special meeting of the House upon a request made in that behalf and signed by the President of that House or not less than one-half of the total number of members of that House.

(3) No business except that of adjournment shall be transacted at any meeting of a Regional House of Chiefs at which there are present less than one-half of the total number of members of that House.

(4) The President of each Regional House of Chiefs shall, if present at any meeting of the House, preside at that meeting and in his absence the Vice-President or in the absence of the Vice-President a member of the House elected by the members present from among their number shall preside at that meeting.

(5) Any question arising for decision by any Regional House of Chiefs shall be determined by the votes of the majority of persons present and voting and in the event of an equality of votes the President or other person presiding at that meeting shall have a second or casting vote:

Provided that Standing Orders of the Regional House of Chiefs may provide for participation in the proceedings of the said House by a member through a representative and the casting of votes by proxy or by any other means of representation permitted by customary law.

(6) The validity of the proceedings at any meeting of a Regional House of Chiefs shall not be affected by any vacancy in the office of President or Vice-President of or in the membership of the House or by any defect in the appointment or election of any person holding such office.

Section 12-Traditional Councils.

(1) There shall be a Traditional Council for each traditional area and the Traditional Councils in existence immediately before the commencement of this Act shall continue in existence for the traditional areas in respect of which they existed immediately before the said commencement.

(2) The name of every Traditional Council shall be shown in the National Register of Chiefs maintained under section 50 of this Act.

Section 12-President of Council.

(1) Except in the case of a joint Council, the Paramount Chief of a traditional area or, in the case of the Kumasi traditional area, the Asantehene shall be the President of the Traditional Council.

(2) In the case of a joint Council, the President shall be such of the Paramount Chiefs exercising jurisdiction in the traditional area in question as the Minister may acting on the advice of the National House of Chiefs by notice published in the Local Government Bulletin direct.

Section 13-President of Council.

(1) Except in the case of a joint Council, the Paramount Chief of a traditional area or, in the case of the Kumasi traditional area, the Asantehene shall be the President of the Traditional Council.

(2) In the case of a joint Council, the President shall be such of the Paramount Chiefs exercising jurisdiction in the traditional area in question as the Minister may acting on the advice of the National House of Chiefs by notice published in the Local Government Bulletin direct.

Section 14-Membership.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a Traditional Council shall consist, in addition to the President, of the persons shown in the National Register of Chiefs as the members thereof.

(2) Subject to subsection (4) of this section, the membership of a Traditional Council in the first instance shall be the same as the membership of that Council immediately before the commencement of this Act.

(3) As soon as practicable after any change occurs in the membership of a Traditional Council the Council shall notify the Regional House of Chiefs thereof which shall in turn notify the National House of Chiefs and, subject to the following subsection, the National House of Chiefs shall cause the said Register to be altered accordingly.

(4) If the National House of Chiefs is satisfied after consultation with the appropriate Regional House of Chiefs that any person should, or that any person should not, be a member of a Traditional Council, the National House of Chiefs may amend the Register accordingly.

Section 15-Jurisdiction in Chieftaincy Disputes.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act and to any appeal therefrom, a Traditional Council shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any cause or matter affecting chieftaincy which arises within its area, not being one to which the Asantehene or a Paramount Chief is a party.

(2) The jurisdiction conferred by this section shall be exercised in accordance with Part V of this Act.

Section 16-Meetings.

(1) Meetings of a Traditional Council shall be held at such times and places as the President of the Council may appoint, or in his absence, inability, or refusal to act, as may be demanded by not less than one-half of the members of the Traditional Council.

(2) Where the President is from any cause unable to attend a meeting the Chief next in seniority on the Council shall preside over the meeting.

(3) No business except that of adjournment shall be transacted if less than one-half of the total number of members are present.

Section 17-Duty of Persons to Assist Traditional Councils.

(1) It shall be the duty of every person who, under customary law, is required to perform any specific duty when so required by the appropriate Traditional Council, to assist in carrying out the functions imposed upon the Council at customary law.

(2) A person who fails without reasonable excuse to comply with a requirement under the preceding subsection shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding N¢100.00.

Section 18-Division

A division is any area which is specified in the National Register of Chiefs as a division.

Section 19-Divisional Councils.

(1) Where a division falls within a traditional area the Traditional Council concerned may create in respect of that division a Divisional Council which shall comprise such members as that Traditional Council may determine.

(2) Where a Division does not fall within a traditional area the Regional House of Chiefs of the Region in which the division falls may create a Divisional Council in respect of that division, comprising such members as the Regional House of Chiefs may determine.

Section 20-Meetings.

(1) There shall be a President of a Divisional Council who shall be such person as may—

(a) in the case of a Divisional Council created under subsection (1) of section 19, be determined by the Traditional Council concerned, or

(b) in the case of a Council created under subsection (2) of section 19, be determined by the Regional House of Chiefs concerned.

(2) Meetings of Divisional Council shall be held at such times and places as the President may appoint or as may be demanded by not less than one-half of the members of the Council.

(3) Where the President is from any cause unable to attend a meeting a member of the Council elected by the members present from among their number shall preside at that meeting.

(4) No business except that of adjournment shall be transacted if less than one-half of the total number of members are present.

Section 21-Functions of Divisional Councils.

(1) The Minister may, acting in accordance with the advice of the Traditional Council concerned or where there is no Traditional Council for the area, acting in accordance with the advice of the National House of Chiefs assign functions to a Divisional Council including functions with respect to any cause or matter affecting chieftaincy.

(2) Where the function of hearing and determining any cause or matter affecting chieftaincy has been conferred on a Divisional Council under subsection (1) of this section, the provisions of this Act relating to the exercise by a Traditional Council of that function shall, with the necessary modifications, apply to the Divisional Council as they apply to a Traditional Council.

Section 24-Evidence, Etc. Before Judicial Committees.

(1) A judicial committee may receive in evidence any matter (including hearsay) which tends to prove or disprove any fact relevant to the subject matter before the committee.

(2) Any such committee may in connection with any such matter do all or any of the following acts as may be done by the High Court in proceedings before the High Court:—

(a) make presumptions of law or fact,

(b) take cognisance of matters which are so notorious or clearly established that evidence of their existence is deemed unnecessary,

(c) draw inferences from facts already in evidence.

(3) Notwithstanding anything in this section a judicial committee shall not make any finding of fact or draw any inference from any fact based solely on hearsay evidence.

(4) Any party to proceedings before a judicial committee may appear in person or by counsel and any other person required or entitled to appear may appear either in person or with leave of the committee by counsel.

(5) The following provisions of this section shall apply for the purpose of ascertainment of customary law in proceedings before a judicial committee.

(6) Any question as to the existence or content of a rule of customary law is a question of law for the committee and not a question of fact.

(7) If the committee entertains any doubt as to the existence or content of a rule of customary law relevant in any proceedings after considering such submissions thereon as may be made by or on behalf of the parties and consulting such reported cases, textbooks and other sources as may be appropriate, the committee shall adjourn the proceedings to enable an enquiry to take place under the next subsection.

(8) The inquiry shall be held as part of the proceedings in such manner as the committee considers expedient, and the provisions of this Act relating to the attendance and testimony of witnesses shall apply for the purpose of the tendering of opinions to the committee at the inquiry, but shall apply subject to such modifications as may appear to the committee to be necessary:

Provided that—

(a) the decision as to the persons who are to be heard at the inquiry shall be one for the committee, after hearing such submissions thereon as may be made by or on behalf of the parties;

(b) the committee may request any authority or body possessing knowledge of the customary law in question to state its opinion which may be laid before the inquiry in written form.

Section 25-Security for Costs, Etc. in Proceedings Before Judicial Committee.

(1) A judicial committee may require the applicant in proceedings before it to give security for costs of the application.

(2) In every case determined by a judicial committee the costs shall be in the discretion of the committee.

(3) For the purposes of the recovery of costs, a certificate of the committee setting forth the particulars may be filed without payment of any fee with the High Court and when so filed shall be accepted by that Court as sufficient evidence of the facts so certified and costs imposed under this section may be taxed as if imposed by the High Court.

Section 26-General Provisions Relating to Judicial Proceedings Before Houses of Chiefs.

(1) The National House of Chiefs or a Regional House of Chiefs shall have in relation to any appeal coming before it all the powers of the tribunal from which the appeal is brought.

(2) In the exercise of the judicial power of the National House of Chiefs and a Regional House of Chiefs, each such house shall have such powers, rights and privileges as are vested in the High Court of Justice or a Judge thereof at a trial in respect of—



(a) enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, affirmation or otherwise,

(b) compelling the production of documents, and the issue of a commission or request to examine witnesses abroad.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Act the practice and procedure of the National House of Chiefs and of a Regional House of Chiefs in the exercise of their judicial functions shall be regulated by rules made in consultation with the respective House by the Rules of Court Committee established by Article 121 of the Constitution.

(4) A member of any judicial committee appointed under this Act or the Counsel thereto shall not be liable to any action or suit in respect of any matter or thing done by him in the performance of his functions under this Act.

(5) Any member of such Committee or the Counsel thereto shall in relation to the exercise of any function under this Act be deemed to be a public officer for the purposes of the Criminal Code, 1960 (Act 29).

(6) A person who does anything in relation to the exercise of the judicial functions of the National House of Chiefs or a Regional House of Chiefs which if done in relation to the High Court will constitute a contempt of that court shall be guilty of contempt of that House.

(7) Where it appears to a judicial committee that any person has committed contempt of the House of Chiefs by which that committee was appointed it shall certify that fact to the High Court and the High Court shall after inquiring into the matter take steps for the punishment of the person in question if it is satisfied that he is guilty of contempt, and shall otherwise acquit that person.

(8) The functions of any counsel appointed to assist any judicial committee under section 22 or 23 of this Act shall be to advise the committee on all matters of law, including in particular, evidence, procedure and interpretation of documents and statutes.

Section 27-Certain Appeals to Operate as Stay of Execution.

An appeal to the National House of Chiefs or a Regional House of Chiefs against a final judgment or order shall operate as a stay of execution of the judgment or order appealed against, and any other order made consequentially upon it unless the appellate tribunal otherwise directs.[As substituted by Chieftaincy (Amendment) (No.2) Decree, 1973 (NRCD 226)].

Section 28-Proceedings Before a Traditional Council.

(1) In the exercise of the jurisdiction conferred upon it by section 15 of this Act, a Traditional Council shall, subject to the provisions of this section conduct its proceedings according to customary law, but for the purpose of compelling the attendance of parties and witnesses and the production of documents, a Traditional Council shall have the like powers as are possessed by a District Court in the exercise of its civil jurisdiction.

(2) The said jurisdiction shall be exercised by a judicial committee of the Traditional Council comprising three or five persons appointed by that Council; and accordingly the provisions of this Act relating to proceedings and functions of a judicial committee of a Regional House of Chiefs shall, with such modifications as may be prescribed by the Minister by regulations made under section 62 of this Act apply to proceedings and functions of a judicial committee of a Traditional Council.

(3) A Traditional Council may in respect of any cause or matter affecting chieftaincy determined by it make any award of a civil nature including any award of amends to an injured person.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to authorise a Traditional Council to punish any person by imposing a fine or awarding a term of imprisonment, and, subject to the provisions of Part VI of this Act, and except in the case of stool property, no award shall be made which would involve the delivery or disposal of property or the payment of money exceeding N¢400.00 in value.

(5) A Traditional Council shall, within thirty days after deciding any cause or matter affecting chieftaincy report its decision to the Regional House of Chiefs in the Region.

Section 28-Vacancies in Judicial Committees.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section where a vacancy occurs in the membership of a judicial committee of the National House of Chiefs, or a Regional House of Chiefs, or a Traditional Council, otherwise than as a result of the expiration of the term of office of its members, the appropriate House or Council may fill the vacancy.

(2) Where the proceedings of a judicial committee have not been completed before the filling of a vacancy under subsection (1) of this section the judicial committee as reconstituted after the filling of the vacancy shall adopt the proceedings of the judicial committee as previously constituted in the cause or matter in question.

(3) Where at the time of the expiration of the term of office of members of the National House of Chiefs or a Regional House of Chiefs or a Traditional Council under this Act, there is pending before the judicial committee of the appropriate House or Council of which they are members any part-heard appeal or any cause or matter relating to chieftaincy such members shall for the purpose of completing the hearing and determination of the appeal or cause or matter continue to hold office for a further period of not more than three months after their term of office has expired. [As inserted by Chieftaincy (Amendment) Law, 1982 (PNDCL 25)].

Section 29-Preservation of Stool Property Affected by Disputes, Etc.

(1) The Commissioner responsible for chieftaincy matters may in consultation with the Traditional Council of the area, by executive instrument, published in the Gazette, order any person to take possession of any stool property in any of the following circumstances:—

(a) where the stool property is affected by pending proceedings in respect of a cause or matter affecting chieftaincy;

(b) where the Commissioner is satisfied on reasonable grounds that there is a pending dispute affecting the stool property and that it is in the interest of public order or it is necessary for the preservation of the stool property to take possession of the stool property;

(c) where a chief has abdicated or has in pursuance of any proceedings in respect of any cause or matter affecting chieftaincy been destooled and he has failed to hand over the stool property to the person who under customary law is entitled to recieve such stool property.

(2) Any person who takes possession of stool property under this section shall, as soon as practicable prepare an inventory of such stool property and transmit a copy of the inventory to the said Commissioner together with a signed certificate of its correctness.

(3) Where the need for the retention of any property taken possession of under this section has passed, the Commissioner shall, order the restoration of the property to the stool concerned.

(4) Any person who wilfully obstructs a person ordered under this section to take possession of any stool property or who wilfully obstructs the restoration of stool property ordered by the Commissioner under subsection (3) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.[As substituted by the Chieftaincy (Amendment) Decree, 1973 (NRCD 166), s.2].

Section 30-Enforcement of Judgment of Houses of Chiefs or Traditional Councils.

(1) Upon an application made by a party to any proceedings before a judicial committee of a House of Chiefs in whose favour a judgment or order was made by that committee, that committee shall forward a copy of the judgment or order to the High Court with a request for execution and upon the payment by the applicant of the necessary fees the High Court shall take such steps and issue such process as may be necessary for the purpose of the execution of the said judgment or order as it would take or issue if it were a judgment or order of that court.

(2) Upon an application made by a party to the proceedings before a judicial committee of a Traditional Council in whose favour a judgment or order was made by the Council, that Council shall forward a copy of the judgment or order of the Council in those proceedings, to the Circuit Court having jurisdiction in the traditional area in question with a request for execution.

(3) Upon the payment by the applicant of the necessary fees the said Circuit Court shall take such steps and issue such process as may be necessary for the purpose of the execution of the judgment or order as it would take or issue if it were a judgment or order of that court.

Section 31-Protection of Parties, Counsel and Witnesses.

(1) Any party, counsel or witness before a judicial committee shall enjoy the same protection in respect of statements made by him in the course of and for the purposes of the proceedings of the said tribunal as he would have enjoyed before the High Court.

(2) Any witness before a judicial committee shall have the same privileges as he would have had before the High Court.

Section 32-Obstruction of Proceedings, Etc.

Subject to section 31 of this Act, any person who in proceedings before a judicial committee and without lawful excuse (proof of which shall be on him)—

(a) fails when required by the said committee to produce or deliver up any document, answer any question or sign any document, or

(b) wilfully obstructs the proceedings of the said committee at any stage thereof,

shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on summary conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding N¢200.00 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months or to both.

Section 33-Right to bring Proceedings for Destoolment.

No person shall be deemed to be entitled by this Act to institute proceedings for the destoolment of a Chief unless he is entitled to do so under customary law.

Section 34-Proceedings in Chieftaincy Matters to be Recorded in Writing.

The proceedings of a National or Regional House of Chiefs and a Traditional Council in any cause or matter affecting chieftaincy shall be recorded in writing.

Section 35-Applications to Two Tribunals.

Where under this Act an application is required to be made either to one tribunal or another, the application shall first be made to the lower tribunal but if that tribunal refuses the application the applicant shall then be entitled to have the application determined by the higher tribunal.

Section 36-What is Stool Property.

Stool property consists of the following—

(a) the stool itself and all the insignia of the stool;

(b) such other movable property and land as was handed over or declared as stool property to the Chief on his installation;

(c) any property movable or immovable acquired as stool property after the installation of the Chief.

Section 37-Alienation of Stool Property Requires Consent of Traditional Council.

In addition to the consent and concurrence of the Lands Commission required by clause (3) of article 164 of the Constitution, any transaction purporting to alienate or pledge any stool property whether movable or immovable shall be voidable unless made or entered into with the consent of the Traditional Council concerned.

Section 38-Prohibition Upon Execution.

No stool property whether movable or immovable shall be seized in execution at the suit of any person except with the written consent of the Minister.

Section 39-Recovery of Stool Property.

Where a judicial committee makes any order for the delivery up of stool property any person who fails to comply with that order shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding N¢200.00 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months or to both and also to a further fine not exceeding N¢10.00 for each day for which the offence continues.

Section 40-National House of Chiefs to Promote the Development of Customary Law.

The National House of Chiefs shall, subject to clause (2) of article 126 of the Constitution, undertake the progressive study, interpretation and codification of customary law with a view to evolving, in appropriate cases a unified system of rules of customary law.

Section 41-Functions of Traditional Councils Relating to Customary Law.

If a Traditional Council considers the customary law which is in force within its area to be uncertain or considers it desirable that it should be modified or assimilated by the common law the Council shall make representations on the matter to the House of Chiefs in the region.

Section 42-Declaration of Customary Law.

(1) A Regional House of Chiefs may, either after receiving representations from a Traditional Council or on its own initiative, and shall if so requested in writing by the National House of Chiefs draft a declaration of what in its opinion is the customary law rule relating to any subject in force in its region or any part thereof.

(2) A draft prepared under subsection (1) of this section shall be submitted to the National House of Chiefs and if the said House after considering it and after consultation with the Regional House of Chiefs concerned is satisfied that the draft either as submitted or with such modifications as it considers necessary is a correct statement of the customary rule in question, it shall submit a request in writing to the President to the effect that that statement of the customary law rule be given effect to in the area in question.

(3) The President may upon receiving a request made by the National House of Chiefs under subsection (2) of this section and after consultation with the Chief Justice make a legislative instrument giving effect to the recommendations submitted to him by the said House, and providing that the rule in question shall have effect within the area in question in the form set out in the instrument.

Section 43-Alteration of Customary Law.

(1) A Regional House of Chiefs may either after receiving representations from a Traditional Council or on its own initiative, and shall if so requested in writing by the National House of Chiefs, draft a statement of alterations it thinks desirable in any customary law rule in force in its region or any part thereof.

(2) A draft prepared under subsection (1) of this section shall be submitted to the National House of Chiefs and if the said House is satisfied after consultation with the Regional House of Chiefs concerned, that effect should be given to the draft, either as submitted or with such modifications as it considers necessary, it shall submit a request in writing to the President to the effect that that statement of the rule as modified by the draft be given effect in the area in question.

(3) The President may, upon receiving a request made by the National House of Chiefs under subsection (2) of this section and after consultation with the Chief Justice make a legislative instrument giving effect to the recommendations submitted to him by the said House under the said subsection (2) and providing that the rule shall have effect within the area in question in the form set out therein.

Section 45-Assimilation of Customary Law.

(1) The National House of Chiefs may on its own initiative and shall, upon request so to do, made to it in writing by the President or by a joint committee referred to in section 44 of this Act comprising representatives of all the Regional Houses of Chiefs, consider whether a rule of customary law should be assimilated by the common law.

(2) If after considering such evidence and representations as may be submitted to it and carrying out such investigations as it may think fit the National House of Chiefs is of the opinion that the rule should be assimilated by the common law, it shall draft a declaration describing the rule, with such modifications as it may consider desirable.

(3) A draft prepared under subsection (2) of this section shall be submitted to the President who may after consultation with the Chief Justice make a legislative instrument giving effect to the recommendations of the National House of Chiefs and declaring the rule to be assimilated in the form specified in the instrument.

Section 46-Effect of Assimilation.

(1) Where a rule is declared to be assimilated under subsection (3) of section 45 of this Act, it may be referred to as a common law rule of customary origin.

(2) A common law rule of customary origin shall apply to every issue within its scope whether or not that issue would if assimilation had not taken place, have been determined according to the common law or any system of customary law.

(3) Where an issue falls to be determined by a combination of two or more rules, nothing in this Part shall prevent any rule of common law or customary law which is not within the scope of a relevant common law rule of customary origin from being applied, in accordance with paragraph 64 of the Courts Decree, 1966 (N.L.C.D. 84) in combination with the said rule of customary origin.

(4) Subject to the provisions of this Part, in applying a common law rule of customary origin the court may have regard to such textbooks and other sources indicating the content of the rule as would be available if it had not been assimilated, and shall treat the rule in the same way as any other common law rule.

(5) Nothing in this section shall be taken to modify the provisions of sections 17 and 18 of the Interpretation Act, 1960 (C.A. 4) (which explain the meaning of the expression "the common law" and "customary law").

Section 47-Power to Include Transitional Provisions.

A legislative instrument made under this Part of this Act may contain such transitional provisions as the President acting on the advice of the National House of Chiefs and in consultation with the Chief Justice may consider necessary in relation to cases pending at the date when the instrument is made or otherwise.

Section 48-Who is a Chief.

(1) A Chief is an individual who has, in accordance with customary law, been nominated, elected and installed as a Chief or as the case may be appointed and installed as such and whose name for the time being appears as a Chief on the National Register of Chiefs:

Provided that no person shall be deemed to be a Chief for the purposes of the exercise by him of any function under this Act or under any other enactment, unless he has been recognised as such by the Minister by notice published in the Local Government Bulletin.

(2) Subject to the foregoing subsection (1) the name of any person who has been installed as a Chief shall be entered by the National House of Chiefs in the National Register of Chiefs not later than one month from the date of the receipt of the notification of such installation.

(3) No person shall be granted recognition as a chief under this section if he has been convicted of an offence involving fraud, dishonesty or moral turpitude. [As inserted by Chieftaincy (Amendment) Law, 1993 (PNDCL 307) s. 1].

(4) For the avoidance of doubt, a withdrawal of recognition made in respect of any chief who has been found to have been convicted of an offence involving fraud, dishonesty or moral turpitude by the Provisional National Defence Council, shall be deemed to have been made in compliance with subsection (3) of this section. [As inserted by Chieftancy (Amendment) Law, 1993 (PNDCL 307) s. 1].

Section 49-Categories of Chiefs.

The following are the categories of Chiefs—

(a) the Asantehene and Paramount Chiefs;

(b) Divisional Chiefs;

(c) Sub-divisional Chiefs;

(d) Adikrofo; and

(e) such other Chiefs not falling within any of the preceding categories as are recognised by the Regional House of Chiefs.

Section 50-National Register of Chiefs.

(1) The National House of Chiefs shall maintain a register to be known as "the National Register of Chiefs", in this Part referred to as "the Register".

(2) The National House of Chiefs shall cause to be recorded on the Register such particulars relating to chieftaincy as it may think fit or as may be required by this Act or any other enactment to be recorded thereon.

(3) The Minister or any person authorised by him in writing may request to be supplied with a copy of the Register or an extract thereof and upon such request the National House of Chiefs shall cause to be supplied accordingly a copy of the Register or an extract thereof, in each case duly certified to be true by the Registrar or a public officer authorised in writing by him.

(4) The Minister may also request such other information in connection with the maintenance of the Register as may be necessary for the due administration of this Act and the National House of Chiefs shall comply with such request.

(5) The Minister or any public officer authorised by him in writing may at any reasonable time, enter the premises where the Register is kept and take extracts thereof.

(6) Any other person shall, upon the payment of the fee prescribed in that behalf by regulations made under section 62 of this Act, be entitled—

(a) at any reasonable time, to enter the premises where the Register is kept and inspect the Register,

(b) to have supplied to him an extract of the contents of the Register or any part thereof duly certified by the Registrar or by any public officer authorised by him in writing to be true.

(7) Any person aggrieved by the refusal by the National House of Chiefs to register him as a Chief may within thirty days after the decision appeal against the decision to the Supreme Court.

(8) The contents of the Register shall be prima facie evidence of the existence of any facts or particulars stated therein.

(9) In any legal proceedings the contents of the Register or any part thereof may be proved by a copy thereof duly certified under the hand of the Registrar to the National House of Chiefs or any public officer authorised by him in writing to be a true copy of the contents or of that part.

Section 51-Enstoolments, Destoolments, Etc. of Chiefs to be Reported to Minister.

(1) All enstoolments, destoolments, abdications and deaths of Chiefs in any Region as well as all such other changes in the status of Chiefs as may be prescribed by regulations made under section 62 of this Act shall as soon as practicable after their occurrence, be reported in writing to the Minister by the Regional House of Chiefs of the Region through the National House of Chiefs.

(2) Subject to section 48 of this Act, the Minister shall upon receipt of any such report cause its contents to be published in the Local Government Bulletin for the information of the general public.

Section 52-Prohibition of Persons Purporting to Act as Chief.

(1) If it appears to him to be necessary so to do in the interests of public order the Minister may by executive instrument—

(a) prohibit any person who is not a Chief (whether or not he was formerly, a Chief) from purporting to exercise any of the functions of a Chief,

(b) require that no person shall treat as a Chief a person subject to such prohibition.

(2) The Minister may also in the interests of public order direct in writing any person described in subsection (1) (a) of this section to reside outside or not to enter or remain in an area specified by the Minister being an area which is or includes any place in relation to which that person wrongfully claims to be a Chief or in relation to which any other person wrongfully treats him as a Chief:

Provided that any direction given under this subsection shall be reviewed by the Minister at monthly intervals and unless renewed shall cease to have effect after three months.

(3) Any person who without lawful excuse (proof of which shall be on him) fails to comply with an executive instrument or direction made or given under this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding N¢400.00 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months or to both.

Section 53-Certain Offences in Connection with Chiefs.

Any person who—

(a) knowingly uses disrespectful or insulting language or offers any insult whether by word or conduct to a Chief, or

(b) being a person in possession of stool property fails upon being requested so to do and without reasonable excuse (proof of which shall be on him) to surrender the said property to the person who for the time being is entitled to possession thereof according to customary law,

shall be guilty of an offence and shall, upon summary conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding N¢100.00 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both; and in the case of a continuing offence to a further fine not exceeding N¢5.00 for each day on which the offence continues.

Section 54-Staff of Houses of Chiefs.

(1) The National House of Chiefs, and each Regional House of Chiefs shall have a Registrar to that House as well as such other staff as the President acting on the advice of the Public Services Commission may determine.

(2) Subject to articles 120 and 122 of the Constitution, the members of the staff of the National House of Chiefs and of each Regional House of Chiefs shall hold office upon such terms and conditions as the President after consultation with the Public Services Commission may determine.

(3) All appointments to and changes in the appointments to the office of Registrar to the National House of Chiefs and each Regional House of Chiefs, shall be published in the Local Government Bulletin and the same shall, if the National House of Chiefs so directs, apply in respect of the offices of all or any of the other members of staff of the National House of Chiefs and each Regional House of Chiefs.

Section 55-Functions of Registrar to a House of Chiefs.

(1) The Registrar of the National House of Chiefs and of each Regional House of Chiefs shall be the chief administrative officer of the House of Chiefs concerned and shall have control over the other members of staff of that House.

(2) The Registrar shall perform such duties in relation to the functions of the House of Chiefs to which he is the Registrar as that House may direct.

(3) The Registrar shall, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this section, cause to be kept minutes of the proceedings of the said House of Chiefs and shall have custody of all records and other documents of that House.

Section 55-Functions of Registrar to a House of Chiefs

(1) The Registrar of the National House of Chiefs and of each Regional House of Chiefs shall be the chief administrative officer of the House of Chiefs concerned and shall have control over the other members of staff of that House.

(2) The Registrar shall perform such duties in relation to the functions of the House of Chiefs to which he is the Registrar as that House may direct.

(3) The Registrar shall, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions of this section, cause to be kept minutes of the proceedings of the said House of Chiefs and shall have custody of all records and other documents of that House.

Section 56-Traditional Councils

A Traditional Council shall have such staff as the President on the advice of the Public Services Commission may determine.

Section 57-Funds of Houses of Chiefs and Traditional Councils

Subject to the provisions of this Part, The National House of Chiefs, a Regional House of Chiefs and a Traditional Council shall each have such funds for the discharge of its functions as Parliament may from time to time provide.

Section 58-Estimates of Houses of Chiefs

(1) The National House of Chiefs and each Regional House of Chiefs shall in each year and by such date as the Minister may direct, submit to the Minister for the approval of the Government estimates of revenue and expenditure in respect of the succeeding year.

(2) The estimates when approved by the Government shall be submitted to the National Assembly.

(3) All expenses incurred by the National House of Chiefs or a Regional House of Chiefs in respect of the exercise of its judicial functions are hereby charged on the Consolidated Fund.

Section 59-Accounts and Audit

(1) The National House of Chiefs, a Regional House of Chiefs and a Traditional Council shall keep proper books of account and proper records in relation thereto and the said accounts shall be kept in such form as the Auditor-General may approve.

(2) The said accounts shall be audited by the Auditor-General and accordingly the provisions of Article 135 of the Constitution shall apply in relation thereto.

Section 60-Power of Minister to Give Financial Instructions

(1) The Minister may after consultation with the Minister responsible for Finance and the Auditor-General, issue in writing instructions, not inconsistent with this Act, for the better control and management of the financial affairs of the National House of Chiefs or the Regional Houses or Traditional Councils.

(2) The instructions may be of a general or special nature and each such House or Council shall be bound to comply with such instructions.

Section 61-Actions by or Against Houses of Chiefs and Traditional Councils, Etc

The President of the National House of Chiefs or a Regional House of Chiefs or of a Traditional Council may represent that House or Council in any action brought by or against that House or Council but actions may otherwise be brought by or against that House or Council as if it were a person.

Section 62-Regulations

The Minister may by legislative instrument make such regulations as may appear to him to be necessary or expedient for giving full effect to the provisions of this Act including, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the making of regulations prescribing fees in respect of anything done under this Act or under regulations made thereunder.

Section 63-Saving of Rights of Allegiance and Rights Over Land, Etc

Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to prejudice any right of allegiance to which a chief in one Region is entitled from a chief in another Region or any right of a stool in one Region to any property movable or immovable, situate or existing in another Region.

Section 64-Stool Lands Account for Each Region

Subject to clause (2) of article 164 of the Constitution, (which provides for the establishment of a Stool Lands Account for each stool) there shall be established for each Region a Regional Stool Lands Account representing the total of the Stool Lands Accounts of all the stools within the Region.

Section 65-Annual Statement of Accounts to be Submitted to Stools

The person or authority for the time being charged with responsibility for keeping Stool Lands Accounts shall, once in each year, submit to each stool whose account is kept by him a statement of revenue and expenditure in respect of that account, in such form as the Minister may determine.

Section 66-nterpretation

In this Act—

"Asantehene" means the occupant of the Golden Stool of Ashanti;

"cause or matter affecting chieftaincy" means any cause, matter, question or dispute relating to any of the following:

(a) the nomination, election, appointment or installation of any person as a Chief or the claim of any person to be nominated, elected, appointed or installed as a Chief;

(b) the destoolment or abdication of any Chief;

(c) the right of any person to take part in the nomination, election, appointment or installation of any person as a Chief or in the destoolment of any Chief;

(d) the recovery or delivery of stool property in connection with any such nomination, election, appointment, installation, destoolment or abdication;

(e) the constitutional relations under customary law between Chiefs,

"Divisional Chief" means a Chief whose name for the time being appears as a Divisional Chief on the National Register of Chiefs;

"judicial committee" means a committee appointed under section 22, 23, or 28 of this Act;

"Minister" means the Minister responsible for Chieftaincy matters;

"Paramount Chief" means a person who has been nominated, elected or appointed and installed as such in accordance with customary law and usage;

"Stool" includes a Skin.

Section 67-Repeals and Savings and Transitional Provisions

(1) The enactments specified in the Schedule to this Act are hereby repealed.

(2) Any action pending immediately before the coming into force of the Constitution before a chieftaincy committee appointed under the Chieftaincy Act, 1961 (Act 81) shall be deemed to be pending before the House of Chiefs within whose Region the subject matter of the proceedings arose and shall be proceeded with and determined by that House in accordance with this Act.

(3) Any matter pending before a Traditional Council immediately before the commencement of this Act shall after the commencement of this Act be deemed to be pending before that Council and shall be proceeded with and determined by that Council in accordance with this Act.

(4) Any judgment or order given or made by a Traditional Council before the commencement of this Act may be enforced in the same manner as a judgment or order given or made by a Traditional Council after the commencement of this Act may be enforced.

(5) Any appeal pending on or after the 22nd day of August, 1969 before a Chieftaincy Committee appointed under the Chieftaincy Act, 1961 (Act 81) shall thereafter be deemed to be an appeal pending before the Regional House of Chiefs within whose region the subject matter of the proceedings arose and shall be proceeded with and determined by that House in accordance with this Act.

(6) Any application for leave to appeal pending before the Minister under subsection (1) of section 48 of the Chieftaincy Act, 1961 (Act 81) immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to be an appeal pending before the appropriate Regional House of Chiefs and shall be proceeded with and determined by that House in accordance with this Act.

(7) Any application for extension of time within which to appeal pending before the Minister immediately before the commencement of this Act shall thereafter be deemed to be an application pending before the appropriate Regional House of Chiefs, and shall be dealt with in accordance with this Act.

(8) A certificate issued in writing under the hand of the Commissioner responsible for chieftaincy matters or under the hand of any public officer authorised by him to the effect that—

(a) an application for leave to appeal was pending before the Minister under subsection (1) of section 48 of the Chieftaincy Act, 1961 (Act 81) immediately before the commencement of this Act, or

(b) an application for extension of time within which to appeal was pending before the Minister immediately before the commencement of this Act
shall be conclusive evidence for the purposes of subsections (6) and (7) respectively.[As inserted by the Chieftaincy (Amendment) Decree, 1973 (NRCD 166), s.3].

SCHEDULE

(Section 67)

REPEALS
The Chieftaincy Act, 1961 (Act 81)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) Act, 1963 (Act 185)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) Act, 1963 (Act 216)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) Act, 1964 (Act 243)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) Decree, 1966 (N.L.C.D. 112)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) Decree, 1967 (N.L.C.D. 128)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) (No. 2) Decree, 1967 (N.L.C.D. 136)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) (No. 3) Decree, 1967 (N.L.C.D. 203)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) (No. 4) Decree, 1967 (N.L.C.D. 205)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) (No. 5) Decree, 1967 (N.L.C.D. 208)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) Decree, 1968 (N.L.C.D. 227)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) (No. 2) Decree, 1968 (N.L.C.D. 287)

The Chieftaincy (Amendment) (No. 3) Decree, 1968 (N.L.C.D. 312)


amended by

CHIEFTAINCY (AMENDMENT) LAW, 1982 (PNDCL 25)1

CHIEFTAINCY (AMENDMENT) DECREE, 1973 (NRCD 166)2

CHIEFTAINCY (AMENDMENT) (NO.2) DECREE, 1973 (NRCD 226)3

CHIEFTAINCY (AMENDMENT) LAW, 1993 (PNDCL 307)4

Search

Directory
Search The Laws