The Ethiopian world-class athlete and celebrity, Haile Gebrselassie, is facing criminal prosecution for a charge of unlawful enforcement of right. The court ordered his arrested appearance due to his failure to appear on the date set for the first hearing of the charge.
In the charge brought to the Federal First Instance Court, Yeka District, on April 26, 2012, by federal prosecutor Terhas Gebre-egzabher, he was accused of changing the door lock on one of the rooms of his Haile Building, in order to vacate a company that was using the room under a rental agreement.
Upon receiving the charge, the Second Criminal Bench of the Court summoned the track star to appear on May 18, 2012, to begin the hearings. Haile’s failure to appear on this date led the judge to order for him to be apprehended and be brought before the court on June 6, 2012.
The changing of the lock that led to the accusation of the legendary athlete, who has also managed to become a prominent businessman, took place after Haile & Alem International Plc and its tenant, Addis Abeba Car Purchase, Sales, & Rental Plc, had a serious disagreement over the termination of their contract.
Addis Abeba Car Purchase, Sales, & Rental Plc is owned by its managing director, Addis Degefu, and his family members. It started out with a capital of 200,000 Br and now has attained 20 million Br, according to Addis.
The two sides signed a five-year rental contract on March 24, 2010, made effective, retrospectively, as of December 1, 2009. They had agreed on a monthly rent of 6,900 Br, which was subject to bilateral modifications after the expiration of a one-year period.
The disagreement occurred when Haile & Alem International Plc wanted its tenant to vacate the room, which is refused. The refusal led to Haile’s company taking the case to a Court claiming the car dealer’s failure to pay the rent at the agreed times. The court rejected the claim on October 26, 2011, for lack of evidence.
“The claim was made improperly, for the plaintiff failed to explain that the defendant did not perform in accordance to the contract,” the court stated when rejecting the claim. “There is no reason to enforce the termination of the contract.”
By the time Haile allegedly broke the lock on December 3, 2011, to have it replaced his appeal to the Federal High Court was still pending. Haile & Alem International Plc vacated the building following the February 20, 2012, ruling of the Federal High Court, which reversed the decision of the lower the court and ordered the tenant to leave.
However, the federal prosecutor treated the breaking of the lock by the athlete as a criminal act and sued Haile for arbitrary action to enforce his right by his own means contrary to the law.
Haile will face a simple imprisonment of one year or less or a fine of not more than 5,000 Br, if found guilty of committing the crime he is charged with.
The Court will resume the hearing process on June 6, 2012.
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Source: AllAfrica & Addisfortune