E/R: Court acquits Odikro of forgery
A Koforidua High Court has acquitted and discharged Nana Anku Dododza III, Odikro of Abomasarefo in the Kwahu Afram Plains North of the Eastern Region, of the charge of forging a colonial document with intent to defraud and claim ownership of the Abomasarefo land.
According to the court presided by Justice Henry A. Kwoffie, Nana Anku Dododza III is not guilty of all the four counts of offences levelled against him and accordingly acquitted and discharged him.
Apart from the forgery charges, Nana Anku Dododza was also charged with deceiving a public officer contrary to the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29).
The particulars of the offences indicated that the Odikro, with intent to defraud, forged a document titled, “The Report of Enquiry into the Akwamu and Kwahu Land dispute, 1845” and through his alleged machinations at the National Archives office and the Committee of Enquiry set up by the Kwahu Traditional Council, obtained judgment in his favour to have possession of Abomasarefo lands.
According to historical account, the grandfather of Nana Anku Dododza Didieye III, in the 1840s served in the palace of Nana Atipah of the Asiedu Boafo Bretuo family of Kwahu Pepease in the Eastern Region.
Nana Atipah named his grandfather as Kweku Didieye and assimilated him into the Asiedu Bretuo family and later made him overseer of the Abomasarefo village.
In 1990, Nana Anku Dododza Didieye III, a descendant of Kweku Didieye, was enstooled Odikro of Abomasarefo when the position became vacant but according to the prosecution, soon after his installation, the Odikro hatched a plot to dispossess the rightful owners of the Bukuruwa stool of the Abomasarefo village.
The prosecution said in pursuit of his plan, the Odikro went to the National Archives several times and obtained certain historical documents of the Gold Coast from which he compiled a fictitious document titled “The Report of Enquiry into the Akwamu and Kwahu land dispute, 1845”.
According to prosecution, a portion of the forged document contained receipts falsely alleging that Abomasarefo land and its environs were bought by the Odikro’s grandfather, Kweku Didieye, for £250. He sent the document to the National Archives claiming it was an ancient document prepared by one Major Cochrane in the Gold Coast Regiment and found in an animal horn in the shrine at Abomasarefo.
The prosecution again said Nana Anku Dododza Didieye III later went back to the National Archives and obtained an authenticated copy of the said document to use it as his ‘weapon’ to claim the Abomasarefo land from the Bukuruwa stool in 1991.
After years of litigation at different levels, several witnesses and evidence were presented by both prosecution and defence teams to the court presided by Justice Henry A. Kwoffie who swore to hear the protracted litigation to its logical conclusion, after the case had passed through the hands of six judges.
Over a year after counsel for the two parties had presented their addresses to the court, the judgment, given under the signature of Justice Kwoffie, stated that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused person beyond reasonable doubt that he authored the 1845 document.
The court also ruled that the said 1845 document was not a forgery but it was evidently clear that the National Archives received it from the colonial office since 1959 and, therefore, acquitted and discharged Nana Anku Dododza Didieye III after finding him not guilty of all the charges.