A Kumasi High Court has brought conclusion to a bitter feud, which has prevented the burial of the ex-chief of Adansi-Akrofrom, Nana Osum Kai Odumgya III, more than a year after he died.
His surviving spouse, Mrs. Rosina Mensah, had insisted that, having acquired American citizenship with the deceased husband and married under American law, she had the right to custody of his corpse as “his next of kin and heiress”.
The maternal family, led by Nana Osei Bonsu, would however, have none of that, resulting in court litigation.
Mrs. Mensah filed an injunction, seeking among other reliefs, exemplary damages for excruciating emotional distress, trauma, pain and suffering, and an order that the body be released to her for internment.
The court, presided by Justice C.A. Wilson, on June 22, this year, restrained the feuding parties from having possession of the corpse until the determination of the suit.
After about four months of hearing, the court had given its ruling and the decision went in favour of the maternal family.
Justice Wilson held that there was no indication that the deceased ceased to be a Ghanaian and that even after changing his nationality and acquiring domicile of choice in the United States, he returned to the land of his birth and traditional setting to be installed a chief.
He said upon his death therefore, “the corpse is solely vested in the maternal branch of his family by Akan customary law”.
“The corpse does not form the basis of property rights to be enjoyed by the widow and her children under the Intestate Succession Law, though in the circumstances of this case, it would be desirable to involve the surviving spouse and her children in the funeral and burial rites.”
The court consequently gave an order of possession of the corpse in favour of the head of the maternal family of the deceased.
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