Ken Ofori-Atta, Chairman of Databank Financial Services Limited – a financial giant – has filed a case of defamation against Sam George Nartey, Communications Consultant to President John Mahama, at an Accra Fast Track High Court.
The suit filed on December 23 by the plaintiff’s lawyers, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah, which also joined Network Broadcasting Limited, operators of Radio Gold 90.5, is asking for a whopping GH¢100 million in damages.
Sam George was reportedly served with the writ of summons last Saturday after news went viral on various social media platforms that he (Ofori-Atta) had allegedly evaded taxes, but it was not clear if Radio Gold as the second defendant had been served.
According to the plaintiff, Sam George on Radio Gold’s news analysis programme, “Alhaji & Alhaji”, aired on October 18, 2014 claimed that Mr Ofori-Atta does not pay his taxes but gets up and wants to ‘Occupy’ – in reference to Ken’s association with the fast growing pressure group called ‘Occupy Ghana’ which is fighting against corruption and bad governance in the country.
The plaintiff quoted Sam George as saying on Radio Gold that he (Ofori-Atta) had evaded tax to the tune of GH¢1.6 million. Sam George was also quoted as saying: “This same Ken Ofori-Atta has been fingered in the fraudulent forex account that the General Secretary and Chairman of the NPP spoke about that was opened in the name of the NPP abroad and certain people were using it as a slush fund.”
The plaintiff further quoted the president’s communication consultant, “When you finish all of this illegality, you have the moral turpitude, the audacity, the pedagogy to come and stand there and say that you are going to occupy – occupy the Flagstaff House.”
Mr Ofori-Atta further quoted Sam George as saying “They should occupy Databank and from there they should go and occupy Odaw – Odaw River. We need people to clean it. It’s National Volunteer Day; they should go and clean the Odaw River; they should clean their acts,” adding, “You cannot sit in this country and people will run this country down, create a mess, turn around and blame the president and his team for the mess.”
Mr Ofori-Atta is praying the court to let the defendants jointly and severally declare that the statements made by Sam George on ‘Alhaji & Alhaji’, hosted by Alhassan Suhiyini, “are false, malicious and defamatory.”
The plaintiff wants “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from broadcasting, writing or in any other way, publishing the same or similar defamatory statements about the plaintiff,” as well as “an order directed at the defendants, compelling them to broadcast a full and unqualified apology to the plaintiff and retraction of the said statements in a language approved by the Honourable Court and on the Radio Gold website with the same prominence as the defamatory statements.”
Particulars Of Damage
According to Mr Ofori-Atta, he suffered “serious damage to his character and reputation as one of Africa’s most prominent businessmen and an internationally recognised leading business executive by being portrayed to right-thinking members of society as a person of moral turpitude who engages in tax evasion, fraud and gross hypocrisy.”
He said he had “suffered serious damage to his character and reputation as an honoured and decorated leader in society by being portrayed to right-thinking members of society as a person of moral turpitude who engages in tax evasion, fraud and gross hypocrisy.”
He added that he had “suffered serious damage to his reputation as the Co-Founder and shareholder of a leading investment bank in Ghana and Africa (Databank) – which complies with all legal and regulatory requirements – by portraying Databank to right-thinking members of society as an entity that engages in tax evasion.”
Radio Gold’s Offence
According to Mr Ofori-Atta, “The defendants did not take any steps or make any attempt to contact him on the story to ascertain his version or rebuttal, and that the refusal, failure or neglect to do so was actuated by the defendants’ gross malice and ill-will towards the plaintiff.”
The writ of summons indicated further, “The plaintiff states that as a natural and probable consequence of publication, the aforesaid deliberately malicious and defamatory statements were given wide coverage in the Ghanaian media through Radio Gold and worldwide over the Internet at http://myradiogoldlive.com.18.”
Plaintiff said that “The natural and ordinary and/or innuendo meaning of the words complained of is that: ‘The plaintiff is guilty of tax evasion on a massive scale – to the tune of GH¢1.6 million – for which he deserves to be imprisoned.’”
He also said he understood the defendant’s statement to mean that “The plaintiff is a corrupt fraudster and appalling hypocrite who has the moral turpitude (or depravity) to operate a fraudulent overseas foreign exchange slush fund, while simultaneously claiming to be a member of ‘Occupy Ghana’, an anti-corruption movement.
“The plaintiff states that as a result of the aforesaid deliberately false, malicious and defamatory statements, he has been seriously injured in character, credit and reputation and has been brought into and exposed to public scandal, odium and contempt…”
The defendants are yet to file their responses.
Source: Daily Guide