Former sports minister jailed

Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, the former Minister of Youth and Sports, has been sentenced to seven days in prison for contempt of court by the Financial and Economic Crime Division 2 of the Accra High Court.

In a judgment on June 12, 2019, the court issued a perpetual injunction prohibiting the defendant, a former minister, from trespassing on property, but he disobeyed the ruling.

He was also given a fine of GH12,000 or, if he didn’t pay, a sentence of 30 days in prison.

The court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, ordered that Kofi Ammoah Kwafo, the individual who initiated the contempt application against Dr. Ahmed, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Director-General of Logistics of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), receive GH5,000 of the fine if it was paid.

The contempt motion was brought about six years ago in a land litigation case in which Dr. Ahmed, a former Member of Parliament for Ayawaso North, sold Mr. Kwafo land in 2000 and then repossessed it on the grounds that he had made a mistake.

The applicant, Mr. Kwafo, attached the Chief of Defence Staff and the Director-General of Logistics in the contempt application because GAF personnel occupying a property built on the land in dispute resisted the execution of the court’s decision.

The Chief of Defence Staff and the Director-General of Logistics were not personally served with copies of the 2019 court land litigation judgment, Justice Asare-Botwe, a Court of Appeal judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, noted in her judgment.

Mr. Kwafo stated in his affidavit in support and written address that the defendants acted in a way that brought the administration of justice into disrepute by defying the court’s authority.

For example, the applicant argued that the first respondent allegedly transferred the property to the GAF in 2017, that a document was signed in 2018, and that the application for registration was submitted in 2021, when the court’s decision had already been rendered.

When the GAF officers refused to carry out the court’s decision, Mr. Kwafo claimed that they were in contempt of court.

Mr. Kwaku Osei Asare served as counsel for Mr. Kwafo.

In his written submission, Dr. Christopher A. Fynn, counsel for Dr. Ahmed, stated that his client cannot be found to be in contempt because no evidence had been gathered to demonstrate that he had violated any court order, direction, or judgment sufficiently to warrant such action.

He said that this was a ploy to enforce the court’s decision in a way that wasn’t allowed by the rules of the court, and that he denied backdating the assignment of the subject matter to the GAF or any other fraud claim.

The applicant, according to the former minister, was bringing the application in an incompetent manner in order to provoke the court against him and the other defendants, according to the former minister.

As they were not parties to the lawsuit, the Chief of Defense Staff and the Director of Logistics informed the court that there was no evidence that a writ of possession had been properly obtained and served upon them.

They argued that notifying them of the judgment by writing to the GAF and posting the judgment on the property was improper.