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A/R: Alhaji Sidi Ibrahim Affirmed New Sarkin Zango

A verdict delivered by the dispute resolution committee has affirmed Alhaji Sidi Abdul Kadir Ibrahim as the new Sarkin Zango of the Ashanti Region.

The Committee was constituted by Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II after both parties agreed to an out-of-court settlement over the legitimacy of Alhaji Mohammed Usman Mutawakil- who garnered more points during the selection process.

The verdict makes way for his installation in succession to Sultan Omar Farouk Saeed, the 14th Sarkin Zango who died on February 23, 2023, after battling an illness.

Selection Process
The selection process which involved the vetting of six interested applicants including Alhaji Mohammed Usman Mutawakil and Alhaji Sidi Abdul Kadir Ibrahim saw the former topping the score sheet with 36 points with his qualification.

He emerged as the Sarkin Zango-elect; however, the dream of taking the position was short-lived as an objection was raised about his legitimacy due to his alleged criminal record.

The petitioner disclosed that Alhaji Usman Mutawakil was convicted in the United States of America (USA) in the late 90s.

Alhaji Usman Mutawakil admitted to accusation upon interrogation by the kingmakers, leading to his disqualification and leaving the slot for second-placed Alhaji Sidi Abdul Kadir Ibrahim.

Court Challenge
Alhaji Usman Mutawakil later ran to the Kumasi High Court to challenge his disqualification, arguing he was only remanded into prison custody in the USA but was never convicted for any crime.

He secured an interim injunction on the enskinment of the new Sarkin Zongo.

Both parties later opted for an out-of-court settlement to make way for a thorough investigation by the Asantehene.

His Majesty constituted a four-member Sarkin Zongo Dispute Resolution Committee, which was to establish the legitimacy of Alhaji Usman Mutawakil.

The committee comprised the Manhyia Palace’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Kofi Badu; Otumfuo Kyeame Adutwum; Otumfuo Saamanhene, Nana Osei Kwaku III; Otumfuo Ankobeahene, Bafour Kwame Kusi II; and Gyaasehene (Buabasa) Nana Aduboffuor Kwaw II.

The committee through collaboration with other state agencies, succeeded in laying hands on the records of Alhaji Usman Mutawakil.

The information read by the Registrar of the Kumasi Traditional Council on April 16, 2024, in the presence of the disputing factions and the committee, revealed the plaintiff was charged with illegal possession of Schedule I controlled substances- drugs, substances, or chemicals with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse- and possession of Schedule I controlled substance with intent to distribute.

He pleaded not guilty to these charges; however, he was found guilty for the first charge and convicted for 30 months in the US in 1996.

He however ended up serving only 11 months.

The committee after hearing this, asked Alhaji Usman Mutawakil if the case file was about him to which he responded approvingly but argued he was never sentenced.

“So long as he has accepted that the case file is about him, we stand by it… None of us were with him when the incident happened in the US so we had to write to the US and this is the response we have all heard,” Otumfuo Ankobeahene, Bafour Kwame Kusi II declared.

Meanwhile, Mr. Badu acknowledged “the only misunderstanding lies in the number of months he served.”

He further explained, “What we must understand is that the prison sentence is not entrenched. If a person is convicted to serve a two-year sentence, for good behaviour it could be reduced with the convict released well ahead of time. This happens in Ghana and everywhere in the world but it does not change the conviction.”

With the final verdict clearly stated by the committee and communicated same to both parties involved, it is now left with officially informing the court and presenting the final verdict for a final determination of the case pending before the High Court.

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