A Private Legal Practitioner and Managing Solicitor for Paintsil, Paintsil & Co., Kweku Painstil, has reiterated that polygamy is a crime punishable by the law in Ghana.
He said anyone who engages in polygamy is likely to face a jail term or be subject to a fine.
“The essence of a marriage under the Ordinance is one man one woman. What this means is that the Law does not permit a man to marry another woman lawfully.
“If you purport to do that there is the offense called Bigamy, which is a criminal offense in respect of which you can be put on trial and where you are convicted you may face a jail term or a fine or both,” he stated.
Head of Paintsil, Paintsil & Co, Kweku PaintsilHe said this while contributing to discussions on the Super Morning Show on Friday, April 29, 2022.
The Marriage Ordinance, 1884, states that, “marriage shall be monogamous and prohibits men from marrying again unless they legally divorce.”
Asked by Co-host of the show, Mamavi Owusu Aboagye, if it is time to reconsider the place of polygamy in society, he was emphatic that he does not subscribe to the practice.
He stated due to the fact that the law proscribes polygamy, people often, under the guise of customary marriage practice the act. The Lawyer stated that any other marriage that comes after marriage under the ordinance is illegal, hence, it’s treated as a nullity by Law.
“No marriage officer or pastor will accept and proceed to bless the other marriage and that’s why people who engage in polygamy do it under guises.
“A lot of people do that. They’ve got a marriage under the ordinance then they purport to go through another form of marriage possibly, customary, the Law does not recognise that. The second marriage is treated by Law as a nullity,” he stated.
He added that “the consequence of this is that if for some reason the man [husband] has to die and in the case he has not made a will, the Law does not recognise the second woman as a wife. So women who go through the process of contracting a second marriage with a man, whether under the ordnance or the customary law, it’s a nullity,” he stressed.
He, thus, entreated any man or woman who has intentions of practicing polygamy to refrain from the act.
“That’s what the Law says. So when you ask about legitimizing a marriage that is to another woman, the Law will deal with you,” he said.