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Entertainment of Friday, 21 July 2006

Source: Statesman

Miss Ghana drags event organisers to court

The organisers of the Miss Ghana 2005 Beauty Pageant, Sparrow Productions Limited will soon appear before the law courts to justify why the company reneged on its promise to offer the winner of the pageant the well-advertised prizes.

Miss Ghana 2005, Lamisi Mbillah, has instructed her lawyers to drag Sparrow Productions to court to ensure that it meets its obligations as contained in the LG Miss Ghana 2005 Event Brochure. The prizes the organisers promised to give the winner include a car, payment of the prize money of $10,000, travel tickets and monthly allowance for July 2006.

The impending law suit is precipitated by the blatant refusal of Sparrow Productions to honour its pledge as advertised and published in the media. According to a press release dated July 20 and signed by Miss Mbillah, the court action is the only option opened to her after the Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, failed to persuade Sparrow Productions to agree to meet its obligations to her. The Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations has oversight responsibility for the pageant.

“Sparrow Productions Limited had earlier on agreed with the Minster to meet all their obligations to me. At the meeting, Sparrow Productions Limited reneged on this agreement to the surprise of everyone else.”

The release said that the suit is also intended to restrain the organisers from “perpetuating what is essentially a fraud on the people of Ghana and the Miss Ghana contestants by promising prizes and assuming obligations they have no intentions of honouring.”

According to the release, after requesting the negotiation of a written contract with Sparrow Productions as a basis for formalising and guiding the relationship between them, the response from the event organisers was unexpected. “On the 17th of July 2006, my lawyers received a letter from the lawyers of Sparrow Productions Ltd denying any liability to me and stating that I refused to sign a contract with Sparrow Productions Ltd and so, effectively, Sparrow Production Ltd has no obligations towards me.”

It alleged that dealing with the organisers has been generally traumatic for several contestants and winners of the Miss Ghana Beauty Pageant. Information gathered by Miss Mbillah from Miss Ghana 2004 revealed that Sparrow Productions made similar claims to her. “They had stated to her at the close of her reign that she had no written contract with them and Sparrow Productions Ltd was not obliged to her in any way.”

The release continued, “It took numerous stressful and costly negotiations, a threat of suit, and a threat of the then Miss Ghana not to attend (sic) the crowing (sic) of her successor, in order to extract part of the prize money from Sparrow Productions Ltd. To date, Miss Ghana 2004 has not received the full complement of her prize list as advertised by Sparrow Productions Ltd.” It stated that it is not the intention of Miss Mbillah to create problems for anyone. Her aim is to ensure that the Miss Ghana event, contestants and Ghanaians are not taken for a ride. “It is in everyone’s interest to ensure that the organisers of the Miss Ghana Event are made more socially responsible to contestants and winners of the Event.”

As Miss Ghana 2005 ends her title reign this July, she is currently preparing to represent Ghana at the Miss World Beauty Pageant to be held in Poland in September. Miss Mbillah initiated and sustained a guinea worm eradication project in the Northern and Brong Ahafo Regions in collaboration with the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme of the Ghana Health Service, the British High Commission, and the Carter Foundation. She also started and maintained a nationwide Universal Salt Iodisation Campaign in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund.

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