Rugby Africa has banned the Vice President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union James Nunoo for a period of 5 years after his inability to substantiate bribery allegations against Coralie van Den Berg, General Manager of Rugby Africa, Herbert Mensah, President of Ghana and other Ghana rugby officials.
Mr. Nunoo has also been slapped with a fine of 1,000 Pounds.
In a letter signed by Patrick Bradshaw, Legal Officer accredited by World Rugby, Africa Rugby said Mr. Nunoo refused to assist in investigations of bribery allegations he levelled against Coralie van Den Berg.
In December 2021, Ghana hosted and won the West Africa rugby sevens tournament at the Paa Joe Stadium in Kumasi.
However, vice President James Nunoo and others opposed Ghana’s hosting of the tournament following internal wrangling within Ghana rugby in 2021. In his failed attempt to dissuade Africa rugby from staging the tournament in Ghana, he accused Coralie van Den Berg general manager of Africa rugby of receiving a sum of money from President of Ghana Rugby Football Union Herbert Mensah in 2019 through the Ghana Rugby Board Member Rafatu Inusah during the Women’s Sevens tournament in Tunisia to ostensibly influence the hosting of the West Africa men and women sevens in Kumasi three years later.
Meanwhile, our checks indicate no other country besides Ghana bidding for the hosting of the West Africa sevens in December 2021 and Mrs van Den Berg was not present at the said tournament in Tunisia.
In a further effort to cause.a flop in the December 2021 West Africa sevens tournament, Bismark Amponsah the general secretary of the Ghana Rugby Football Union and others allegedly wrote to other rugby unions in West Africa including Burkina Faso to discourage them from participating in the Kumasi tournament.
These attempts to flop the Ghana tournament failed as almost all 9 participating countries all showed up for the tournament in which Ghana won the trophies for both men and women.
But Africa Rugby entrusted the matter of James Nunoo’s bribery allegations in the hands of the World Rugby Legal and Disciplinary Commission which appointed Patrick Bradshaw as adjudicator.
Upon his appointment, Mr. Bradshaw sent all persons involved in the case a questionnaire by email, to enable them tell their side of the story. Per our checks, Rafatu Inusah, Herbert Mensah and Coralie van Den Berg responded swiftly but James Nunoo refused to fill out the questionnaire, despite all attempts by Mr. Bradshaw including contacting people who knew him.
When it became clear to the World Rugby Legal Officer that Mr. Nunoo was unable to substantiate his own allegations against the Africa rugby official, he ruled his accusations as misconduct and decided to apply appropriate sanctions according to the rules of the game.
“Regulation 20.10 relating to sanctions for misconduct specifies in its paragraph 20.10.1, that: Where an act or acts of misconduct have been committed, the Disciplinary Committee or Legal Officer has the right to impose any sanction that he or she considers appropriate against the Federation, of the Person and/or Player and/or any other relevant party.
” Accordingly, Mr. James Nunoo, Vice President of the GHANA RUGBY UNION is suspended from any involvement in rugby activities for a period of 5 years. Mr. James Nunoo is required to pay a fine of 1,000 pounds sterling, as compensation for moral damage suffered by Coralie van den Berg on behalf of Rugby Africa”.
Besides the 5-year ban and fine from Africa rugby, Mr. Nunoo faces several civil suits at home for libel and defamation against the former Kotoko chairman Herbert Mensah who has obtained an interlocutory injunction from the high court to prevent James Nunoo and others from further libellous statements against his person.
It is unclear what sanctions await the general secretary for their role in attempting to sabotage an Africa Rugby event in Ghana.
Mr. James Nunoo had a period of 8 days to appeal against the 5-year ban from all rugby-related activities but he failed to officially challenge the decision of the World Rugby Adjudicator.
In a press release we have sighted, Mr Nunoo said he did not receive any official communication from Africa Rugby and does not accept the decision of the World Rugby Adjudicator Patrick Bradshaw.
BELOW IS A COPY OF THE RULING:
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