The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, (KBTH), Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah and two of his hospital staff have been found guilty for Contempt for disobeying Court over the recruitment of Director of Finance.
Dr. Amponsah, (1st Respondent), and Munir Alhassan, the Hospital Administrator (2nd Respondent), and Juliana Samuel-Mensah, Head of Human Resource Planning (3rd Respondent), were said to have gone ahead to appoint a substantive Director of Finance in-spite of a pendency of Interlocutory injunction before the Court.
The Health Accounting Staff Association of Ghana (1st Applicant) and Lucas Amewudah, acting Director of Finance, (2nd Applicant), dragged the Respondents to Court over what they described as unlawful recruitment.
But, despite the pendency of the interlocutory injunction, the three were said to have gone ahead to appoint a substantive Director of Finance to replace, the 2nd Applicant who was said to be in acting capacity.
Ruling on the Contempt Application, Justice Frank Rockson Aboadwe, who was presiding at the Labour Division of the Accra High Court, said the Respondents are in Contempt of the Court and found them guilty.
But, the CEO, the administrator and the Head of HR, all three, escaped custodial punishment as each cautioned and discharged by the court.
They were however slapped with a cost of GHc5, 000 to be paid to the Applicants.
“Even though this Court finds the behaviour of the Respondents contemptuous and no justification for their actions, it seems a harsh sentence would not be appropriate taking the circumstances of this case into account,” Justice Aboadwe ruled.
The Court said, “A caution and discharge would be adequate to purge them of their Contempt.
“The Court has taken this lenient and liberal view towards the Respondents, purely because of the fact that the parties herein would have to continue working together for the good of the healthcare of the country. For health it is said is wealth.
“Being guided by the above decision of the apex court of this country and also the statement made by the 3rd Respondent ni paragraph 18 of the affidavit ni opposition, the Respondents are hereby cautioned and discharged.
“The Applicants are awarded cost of GHc5, 000 against the Respondents,” the Court ordered.
It was the case of the Applicants’ that they are in Court to stop what they perceive to be an unlawful recruitment exercise and to compel the respondents to do the right thing.
The Applicants again filed an injunction to restrain the Respondents from going ahead with the current or any other recruitment exercise aimed at removing the 2nd Applicant (Lucas Amewudah).
According to the Applicants, the Respondents were served with the Motion for Interlocutor Injunction on April 3, 2023.
“Applicants referred to paragraph 3 of their Exhibit ‘C’, which is a copy of the appointment letter the Director of Finance on pre-employment medical examination.
“Therefore going by the said letter, certain steps remained outstanding at the time the Respondents were served the Injunction application.
“To further buttress the point that the Respondents were served before
the appointment of the Director of Finance, the Applicants exhibited Exhibit ‘D’, which is an affidavit of service of the writ of summons, statement of claim and the injunction application.
“That the Respondents instead of respecting the injunction application have rather undertaken actions that the injunction application seeks to prevent.
“Again that the assumption of duty forms signed for the incoming director was done on the 8th and 9th of May, 2023,” they argued.
The applicants then stated that the assumption of duty forms were backdated fraudulently and that, the Respondents went on to particularize the fraud so perpetuated by the Respondents.
It was also the case of the Applicants that, it was not until April 11, 2023 that 2nd Respondent (Administrator) handed over the office of the substantive Director of Finance and items to the incoming director.
“Yet again, that the 1st Respondent (CEO) on the 18th of May, 2023 wrote to the 2nd Applicant asking him to handover.
“That all the stated acts of the respondents were done after they have been servedwith the
“The Applicants concluded by stating that by the conduct of the Respondents, they have shown complete disrespect and disregard to the court.
“That the actions of the Respondents are deliberate, intentional and calculated to interfere with the administration of justice.
“That if such conduct is allowed, the courts of this country would be brought into disrepute. The applicants therefore prayed for the Respondents to be committed to prison for Contempt of Court,” the Applicants prayed.
The Respondents opposed to the application and argued that, the Applicants issued a writ, statement of claim and a motion for interlocutory injunction against them on the 3rd of April, 2023.
They stated that, they did enter appearance on April6, 2023 and that, they the Respondents advertised a vacancy for the position of a Director of Finance on September 20, 2022.
They argued that, subsequent to the interview, a Director of Finance was appointed
by the Respondents on March 15, 2023.
According to the Respondents, at the time the Applicants issued their writ, statement of claim and motion for injunction on April 3, 2023, the recruitment process had been completed and the Director of Finance had assumed office on 1st March, 2023.
They argued that, the 3rd Respondent (HR) did not intend to disrespect the authority or jurisdiction of the court and at all material times the 3rd Respondent had to manage
the affairs of the hospital to avoid putting lives at risk.
The 3rd Respondent however unreservedly apologizes to the Court that if her actions or omissions have caused any disrespect to this court.
She then prayed further to be forgiven and be purged of this contempt application.
They concluded by stating that this application was brought in bad faith and prayed the court to dismiss same as unmeritorious.