The Accra High Court’s Financial and Economic Crime Division 2 has sentenced Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, a former minister of youth and sports, to seven days in jail for contempt of court. A perpetual injunction prohibiting the former minister, who was the defendant, from trespassing on land was given by the court in a judgment on June 12, 2019, but he disobeyed the ruling. Also, the court ordered him to pay a fine of GHC 12,000 or serve 30 days in jail.
The court, presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, ordered that Kofi Ammoah Kwafo, the person who filed the contempt complaint against Dr. Ahmed, the Chief of Defence Staff, and the Director-General of Logistics of the Ghana Armed Forces, receive GH5,000 of the fine, if it is paid.
The contempt motion has its roots in a land dispute from six years ago, when Dr. Ahmed, a previous representative for Ayawaso North, sold land to Mr. Kwafo in 2000 and later repossessed it under the pretext 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 members who were inhabiting a building constructed on the subject property rejected the court’s order to execute the judgment.
In her ruling, Justice Asare-Botwe, a Court of Appeal judge who also serves as a High Court judge with additional authority, noted that the Chief of Defence Staff and the Director-General of Logistics were not physically served with copies of the court’s 2019 land litigation decision. Mr. Kwafo claimed that the respondents disobeyed the court’s authority in his affidavit in support and written address, acting in a way that brought the administration of justice into disrepute.
For instance, the applicant argued that the first respondent, purportedly disposed of the property to the GAF, in 2017, which document was executed in 2018 and the application for registration, therefore, having been made in 2021 when the judgement of the court was already handed down. Mr Kwafo said that the officers of the GAF were in contempt of court when they resisted the execution of the judgement of the court.
Mr. Kwaku Osei Asare served as legal counsel for Mr. Kwafo. Dr. Ahmed’s attorney, Mr. Christopher A. Fynn, argued in a written filing that there was insufficient evidence to establish that his client had violated any court order, directive, or ruling to warrant finding him in contempt. He asserted that this was a ruse to enforce the judgment issued by the court by a manner other than what was permitted by the rules of court and denied having backdated the assignment of the sub-matter to the GAF or any other charge of fraud.
The applicant, according to the former minister, brought the application using an ineffective procedure in an effort to sway the court against him and the other respondents. As they were not parties to the lawsuit, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Director of Logistics testified before the court that there was no proof that a writ of possession had been lawfully obtained and served on them. They argued that notifying the Owners in writing and displaying the judgment on the property were improper methods for doing so.