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Four Ghana Rugby board members jailed for contempt of court - Report

Sports

23 days ago
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Four members of the governing board of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) have been jailed for twenty-one (21) days each for contempt of court.

The General Jurisdiction 2 High Court judge Justice Forson Agyapong Baah committed the four to custodial sentence after rejecting pleas from their lawyer to temper justice with mercy and give his clients a non-custodial sentence for their transgressions.

The case, titled The Republic vrs James Nunoo Mensah and others exparte Herbert Mensah received its ruling today Thursday May 30 2024.

The four were incarcerated to restore the dignity and authority of the court, according to the judge.

They include; Abdul Aziz Issah, President of Greater Accra Rugby Association and board member; James Nunoo Mensah, former Vice President of Ghana Rugby; Michael Ako Wilson, board member; and Bismark Amponsah, General Secretary of the GRFU.

The complainant, Herbert Mensah, through his lawyer Dominic Brenya of Sam Okudzeto & Associates, filed the case of contempt against eight defendants including the incarcerated four after an interlocutory injunction order by the High Court to restrain them from organizing meetings or elections or making defamatory publications in the name of GRFU went unheeded.

Three others who are staff of the Ghana Olympic Committee were acquitted and discharged while the case was discontinued against the 8th defendant.

The incarcerated four are part of members of the Ghana Rugby fraternity who recently organized an elective congress in December 2023 to elect new board members. That election was not sanctioned by the sports authorities in Ghana neither was it recognized by the continental governing body, Rugby Africa.

In 2021, the four were also part of a group that organized a special general meeting (SGM) in which they declared that they had sacked Herbert Mensah, former President of Ghana Rugby, and were acting as new board members.

Subsequently, Herbert Mensah filed a case at the High Court General Jurisdiction 2 in 2021, asking the court to declare their declarations null and void. This substantive case remains pending in the high court.

The presiding judge in his ruling said that all these meetings and elections and public notices issued for these elections to be held by the four and their assigns constituted willful disregard for the authority of the High Court, which had previously injuncted them from doing so.

This interlocutory injunction order clearly prohibited these activities whiles a substantive case remains pending in the court.

“The law of contempt was promulgated because of people like you,” the judge declared in his ruling, adding, “You used tactics that undermined the authority of this honorable court and the administration of justice despite knowing that your actions are against the injunction placed on you.”

The judge said not even the president can disobey court orders that will undermine the administration of justice and warned the public to desist from disrespecting court orders.

The Ghana Rugby Football Union is currently undergoing a normalization process after Herbert Mensah resigned as Ghana Rugby President in August 2023, since becoming President of Rugby Africa.

The normalization process, spearheaded by Rugby Africa, will lead to an audit of all rugby clubs and regional associations in Ghana and their activities.

The normalization will lead to the establishment of an interim management team to run the affairs of Rugby in Ghana until a properly supervised elective congress is held to elect a new a governing board under the auspices of Rugby Africa, the continental governing body of the game.

source: Koku Agbenaza, Contributor