Roland Affail Monney, the immediate past President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) yesterday fled from the swearing-in ceremony of his troubled successor and other newly elected executives after a court process filed by one Justice Lee Adoboe, a member of the GJA, to stop the event, was snubbed.
The injunction, according to The Herald’s information, was duly served on the association through one James at its offices in Accra near the main Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), but was eventually ignored by a Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice George Kingsley Koomson,
The jurist went ahead to administer the Oath of Office for all the executives, including the President-elect, Albert Dwumfuor, at the poorly attended event held very early in the morning.
The Herald was told Roland Affail Monney, was seen at the GJA office, while the ceremony was ongoing at the International Conference Centre, afraid of running into contempt of court.
Mr Monney, could not give his farewell address.
Legal analysts, have argued about how the new executives some of whom were part of the Affail Monney administration, but got retained at last Friday’s election, will be able to extricate themselves from a Contempt of Court situation since injunction was served on the association of which they were part of the executive body.
But there are claims that Justice George Kingsley Koomson, asked that the ceremony be halted due to the court injunction, but he later got back to say that an order had come from above for him to administer the oath of office.
Justice Lee Adoboe, who filed the application to halt the newly-elected GJA President, from being sworn in, contends that the bribery allegations levelled against Mr Dwumfuor, should have been investigated before the elections were held.
Mr Adoboe, speaking to Citi News following the swearing-in, said the disregard for the court shows Mr. Dwumfuor is not a law-abiding person.
He believes the association is in contempt of court for the swearing-in.
“Secondly, it shows us the kind of person who is becoming the leader of the journalist association; a person who will wilfully flout the orders of the court of this land.”
Mr Adoboe, said he would seek counsel from his lawyers for his next line of action.
Albert Dwumfuor was sworn in at a ceremony at the Accra International Conference Center yesterday.
The new executives include: Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, President; Linda Asante-Agyei, Vice President; Kofi Yeboah, General Secretary; Dominic Hlordzi, National Organising Secretary; Audrey Dekalu, Treasurer and Rebecca Ekpe, Public Relations Officer.
Albert Dwumfuor, pledged to better protect the press in Ghana from abuse against it.
Delivering his speech after the swearing-in, he disclosed that a Journalist Support Fund will be established to see to the safety and security of journalists.
“The era of when journalists were assaulted but do not get justice due to lack of funds to pursue legal action will soon become ancient,” he said during his speech.
Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, Group Head of Corporate Affairs at the Tobinco Group, last week got elected GJA President, despite reports of financially inducing his colleague journalists across the country ahead of the polls.
The bribery reports contained in a petition filed against Mr Dwumfour, was swept under the carpet by the outgoing president, Roland Affail Monney’s administration and the election was allowed to go on in clear disregard for strict provisions of the GJA Constitution on matters of corrupting people to win an election.
A member of the GJA in the Western Region, Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu, had petitioned the election committee of the association headed by Lawyer Osei Kwadwo Adow to investigate and act on the allegation that Mr Dwumfour, had through a businessman and owner of Atinka Media Village, enticed journalists in the region with food and money to vote for him (Dwumfour) to protect his business interests, including the importation of pharmaceutical products from Indian.
Few years ago, Samuel Amo Tobbin, was in the news for importing some substandard pharmaceutical products from India into the country. The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) had to step in upon discovery of the dangerous products and force him to either destroy them or return them to the manufacturer Bliss GVS.
The FDA under Dr Stephen K. Opuni at the time, feared that the products could harm or even kill consumers, who were mostly children.
Mr Dwumfour was the cleanup man for Mr Tobin, especially in the media. Dwumfour’s name had also come strongly in the procurements of some products for the Electoral Commission (EC) particularly hand sanitizers during the Voter registration exercise, as well as 2020 Election Day with colossal amounts mentioned as paid. He and Mr Tobin, were said to have fallen out because of the EC procurements.
Mr Aklorbortu’s petition had revealed that Mr Dwumfour “with tacit support from the Chairman of Tobinco Group of Company, Mr Amoh Tobbin, offered members of the GJA in good standing, offered each member seated(sic) [at a meeting], in addition to the buffet, an amount ¢500 (sic) to vote for Mr. Albert Dwumfour.”
The petitioner says the actions of Albert Dwumfour contravene “Article 52 (b) (c) and (d) GJA constitution 2004. It states ‘52 (b) it shall be an election offence for any candidate to directly or indirectly offer cash, favors, any incentives, or apply threats with the intention to influence the election results. (c) Any candidate found contravening the provisions of Article 52 (b) shall be disqualified after due investigation by the elections committee and (d) if found guilty, the candidate shall be barred from standing for any GJA elections for the next two (2) subsequent general elections.”
But the bribery allegations were ignored and at the end of the contest, Albert had 233 votes while his closest contender Gayheart Mensah, a Communications Consultant, had 181 votes. The Editor of the Ghanaian Times and former General Secretary of the GJA, Dave Agbenu, who was the third contestant had 143 votes.
The Chairman of the Elections Committee of the GJA, Osei Kwadwo Adow had resigned barely three days before the national executive elections, refusing to give reasons. But The Herald was informed that it was over the bribery allegations against Mr. Dwumfour which he had wanted to investigate but the outgoing executives won’t allow him.
Lawyer Adow, announced his resignation on Monday, June 20 through a letter to the outgoing President of the Association, Roland Affail Monney, citing “..reasons are personal”. Mr Affail Monney in response told Accra-based JoyNews that the Chairman, had been asked through a letter to resume his position as the date for the election is near.
“The decision by Lawyer Osei Kwadwo Adow Esq. to resign, has come close to the election and the implications will be dire if he goes ahead with the resignation.
“We were compelled by reality to persuade him to rescind his decision and I am inclined to believe that Lawyer Osei Kwadwo will come back and resume his position as Chairman of the Elections Committee,” he said.
Dr Monney added that after personally contacting the resigned chairman, he is convinced the latter will resume his position as the Chairman of the Elections Committee.
However, Lawyer Osei Kwadwo Adow told JoyNews that he has not yet received any letter requesting him to rescind his decision.
The petitioner had alleged that “Mr Amoh Tobbin, in the said meeting at the Atlantic Hotel in Takoradi, told journalists to vote for Mr. Dwumfour in order to protect and promote his business.
“He said during the previous administration (government), his business suffered under Mr Opuni and that he used the media to protect his interest. Therefore, voting for Mr. Albert Kwabena Dwumfour to become the GJA President will mean protection for his business interest.”
Short videos sighted by The Fourth Estate show Samuel Amoh Tobbin of the Tobinco Group of Companies and Albert Dwumfour in a meeting with some journalists in the Western Region.
Mr Tobbin is heard in the video saying if it were a political thing, he would ask, “Should I give a TV [set] or this or that”, which was greeted with laughter from the journalists present at the meeting.
“I will be of help because I’m in the industry and more so, I’m a businessman. So, I’ll need you tomorrow. If you come tomorrow after voting for him and I turn you down, Tobinco is a household name. Who knows tomorrow?” he said.
“I’m not a politician, who will say it and just go away. I’m a businessman. I’m in a lot of businesses. So do him [pointing to Albert Dwumfour] a favour. Do me a favour by bringing him. When you bring him… why I want you to bring him on board is to support my business as well. He’s my corporate person. He does all my social [activities],” he told the journalists.