Basketball August 8 Elections Cancelled

Deputy Sports Minister Yonton.jpg

Today’s expected congress of the Liberia Basketball Association, which could have ended tomorrow with election of new leaders for another four years, has been cancelled, by His Honor Judge Yusuf D. Kaba of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court, Montserrado County, through a Writ of Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order filed by aggrieved stakeholders.

The court, in its June Term AD 2015, ordered the writ under the hand of Ellen Hall, Clerk of Court.

“Respondents are hereby ordered restrained, enjoined, refrained and prohibited from conducting 1st Respondent (LBA) Congress and elections until otherwise ordered by this court,” the writ said.

“You are hereby further commanded to file your official returns on or before the 15th day of August AD 2015 as to the manner of serve – and have there this writ of injunction and temporary restraining order,” the court directed Rufus Anderson, outgoing president of the LBA, who is seeking re-election.

The freezing of the basketball’s elective congress has marked the fifth postponement – the first date was January 28; later to February 6 and 7, and to February 17 and 18 and then to April 7.

Since January 2015, with the resumption of all sporting activities across the country after the Ebola outbreak, there has been wrangling over illegitimacy, bogus clubs and financial misapplication.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports in collaboration with the Liberia National Olympic Committee (LNOC) fruitlessly intervened to resolve the crisis between the LBA leadership, headed by Rufus Anderson and the Aggrieved Stakeholders, led by Calvin Diggs, Malcolm Joseph, Ali Sylla and Edwin Fahnbulleh.

Recently, during a protest against Rufus Anderson’s administration, two entrances of the Sports Commission were sealed off (wielded) and players displayed placards, which was climaxed with a bloody fight between the parties at the Liberia Baptist Seminary.

After several unsuccessful attempts, the Ministry of Youth and Sports wrote the continental governing body of basketball, FIBA-Africa to intervene in the LBA leadership case.

Deputy Sports Minister Henry Yonton said in his communication dated 3 April on the ongoing stalemate was due to the unremitting contestation for “legitimacy and expiration of tenure” by some aggrieved members, structured under the named: Liberia Basketball Presidents Association.

Other issues included accusation against the MYS for releasing funds to Anderson’s leadership when the crisis was yet to be resolved, and accusing the MYS as deceptive practice in the resolution of the case.

Though Minister Yonton rejected the accusation of any form of deception in the search for solution in the LBA crisis, it could not address why it released U$58,000 to Anderson’s administration.

In spite of their argument an MOU was signed and an elections commission, headed by Yanqueh Borsay appointed.

But the thorny issue of K-Delta president Abraham Samukai remained unresolved, because LBA does not recognize him as president but rather owner, which he objects.

K-Delta’s vice president for administration, Mr. Bonah Kerkula, in a letter informed LBA’s secretary general D. Allen Goodridge and president Anderson that Samukai is K-Delta’s rightful president but the two men would not hear of it. Samukai as a result threatened to seek help from the judicial system, to interpret the rule used by Anderson’s LBA to deny him the right to contest the elections.

Samukai sought the intervention of the Liberia National Olympic Committee, but when he did not receive any response as he had anticipated, has now sought the court to cancel the elections until his due process rights are respected.

The sheriff of the Sixth Judicial Court served the injunction on President Rufus Anderson yesterday, and thereby officially instructed him and others mentioned in the writ, including the Ministry of Youth & Sports to ensure the cancellation of the August 8 congress and its subsequent elections.

Late yesterday, Basketball Elections Commission chairman, Yanqueh Borsay, was being sought by the sheriff to slap him a copy of the injunction.

The judicial system is at the disposal of every Liberian who is convinced his rights are denied him.

Rufus Anderson has up to August 15 to file a return to the court’s decision and therefore he is mandated by law to abide by the court’s decision to wait until the court examines the case.


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