The Commercial Division of the Accra High Court has appointed the Registrar of Companies (Registrar-General) to take custody of the assets of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and protect them.
Per an order issued by the court, presided over by Mr Justice Samuel Asiedu, in Accra yesterday, the Registrar-General, Mrs Jemima Oware, would take charge of the assets until the determination of a petition by the government to liquidate the GFA.
Mrs Oware is, therefore, charged with the duty of ensuring that the assets of the GFA remain intact and are not tampered with until the petition to liquidate the GFA is determined.
The court has also placed a new injunction on the activities of the GFA until the determination of the petition by the government.
The new injunction order replaces the 10-day interim injunction that the court slapped on the GFA, which expired on June 22, 2018.
In effect, the court has barred the GFA and its officials from engaging in any form of football-related activities, including the appointment and election of officials, disposing of assets of the GFA, organising football matches, among other football-related activities.
The court gave the orders after it had granted an application filed by the Attorney-General (A-G).
The government, through the A-G, wanted the court to appoint the Registrar-General to take charge of the assets of the GFA and also restrain the association and its officials from functioning until the determination of its petition to liquidate the association.
In June, the government initiated steps to liquidate the GFA, after an exposé by the undercover journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, showed some referees and top officials of the GFA allegedly collecting bribes to influence their work.
The exposé, which was shown in Accra, Kumasi and Sunyani, shook the foundations of Ghana’s football and led to the resignation of the GFA President, Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi.
The video alleged that Mr Nyantakyi collected money from some investors on the pretext of helping them to obtain government contracts.
The first move by the A-G was to file an interim injunction to halt the activities of the GFA, after filing a petition for the football body to be liquidated.
After the expiration of the interim injunction, the government filed another application for a new injunction and the appointment of the Registrar-General to take over assets of the GFA until the final determination of the liquidation petition.
In a response filed by its lawyer, Mr Thaddeus Sory, the GFA prayed the court to dismiss the A-G’s petition to dissolve the GFA because it was without merit.
According to the GFA, the Anas video on which the A-G was praying the court to dissolve the GFA “has been subjected to widespread criticism on grounds of ethics, motive and approach”.
Making a case for the injunction application yesterday, a Deputy A-G, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, said the GFA was being used for illegal purposes.
According to him, some officials of the GFA had used the association to perpetrate illegal activities and as an instrument for self-gain, which was not in the interest of the public.
The government, he argued, had a duty to protect the public interest and was, therefore, seeking the injunction and the liquidation of the GFA to safeguard that interest.
Mr Sory, in his submission, opposed the application and urged the court to dismiss it.
He argued that the A-G’s application was based on weak grounds because no member of the GFA had been convicted of any wrongdoing by a court of competent jurisdiction.
He wondered why the A-G had not initiated criminal proceedings against the GFA officials allegedly captured in the Anas exposé, as it had done with previous exposé by the undercover journalist.
The A-G, he argued, had accepted the allegations by Anas as the truth, without resorting to the court, which had the mandate to prove the guilt or innocence of the GFA officials.
He further submitted that the A-G did not properly invoke the jurisdiction of the court because it failed to serve the individual members and officials of the GFA with the application.
In his ruling to grant the application, Mr Justice Asiedu held that the allegations levelled against the GFA officials were not frivolous.
He also ruled that on the balance of convenience, the applicant (A-G) stood to suffer greater hardship than the defendant (GFA) if the injunction was not granted.
The government, represented by the A-G, he ruled, could not be compensated if the injunction was refused and its petition for the liquidation of the GFA was upheld.
On the other hand, he said, the GFA officials could be adequately compensated if the injunction was granted and the petition dismissed.