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Minister sues 2 for defamation

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh
Blessed Nana Godsbrain Smart (left) and Solomon K.A. Owusu
Blessed Nana Godsbrain Smart (left) and Solomon K.A. Owusu

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has sued two persons for defamation.

He is claiming GH¢2 million in general damages from Solomon K.A. Owusu, a Ghanaian based in the United States of America (USA) and Blessed Nana Godsbrain Smart, aka Captain Smart, a broadcaster at Adom FM, a private radio station.

According to the statement of claim accompanying the writ of summons issued at the High Court on Monday, April 1, 2019, Owusu published defamatory materials on social media and other traditional media platforms, which created the impression that Prof. Frimpong-Boateng was a corrupt politician who was using his office to fuel and benefit from illegal mining activities.

Captain Smart has been attached to the suit for re-echoing the defamatory words on his show.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng is accordingly seeking a declaration that the statements made by Owusu and repeated by Captain Smart were defamatory and an injury to his reputation.

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An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents from making and or publishing any defamatory statements of plaintiff on any platform, whatsoever, is also being sought.

Costs, including solicitor’s fees and any other reliefs or orders that the court deems fit, are also being sought by the plaintiff.
Mr Emmanuel Bright Atokoh is the counsel for the plaintiff.

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Restraining Order

Meanwhile, the plaintiff has filed an ex-parte motion praying the High Court to restrain Mr Owusu from leaving the jurisdiction until he makes a security deposit of GH¢2 million.

The motion is also praying the court to issue an order for an absconding warrant of arrest against Mr Owusu or for security under Order 73 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2004 (CI 47).

The plaintiff wants the court’s order when granted, to be served on the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the Ghana Police Service.

An affidavit in support of the ex-parte motion deposed to by Ms Freda Amoako, a lawyer, on behalf of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, said Mr Owusu intended to abscond from the jurisdiction upon service of the writ of summons and statement of claim on him.

“That I am informed by the applicant that the 1st respondent’s intention to leave the jurisdiction on Saturday the 6th day of April, 2019 was revealed at a meeting 1st Respondent had with the applicant on Monday, the 1st day of April, 2019,” the affidavit in support said.

It said the instant suit against the defendants would be obstructed and delayed if the court did not make the order for an absconding warrant to issue against Mr Owusu or for security to the tune of GH¢2 million to be taken for the appearance of Mr Owusu to satisfy any judgement, including costs, that might be given against the defendants in the action.

According to the affidavit in support, the instant suit mounted against the defendants would be rendered nugatory if Mr Owusu could not be traced for the execution of the judgement should it be given in favour of the applicant.

Statement of Claim

The statement of claim accompanying the writ of summons said between August 2018 and February 2019, Mr Owusu had deliberately and maliciously made and published on the said platform various statements to ridicule and injure plaintiff’s reputation as a person and as Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining.

It said Mr Owusu had published that the plaintiff and his son were greedy and had sabotaged the government’s plan to prevent illegal mining in Ghana and that the plaintiff and his son had connived with Chinese and other foreign miners to operate illegal mines in Ghana.

It said while Ghanaian licensed miners remained unemployed or were thrown into jail, the Chinese illegal miners were set free.

The statement of claim said the plaintiff would aver further that Mr Owusu had also on different occasions made certain statements against plaintiff all of which were calculated to lower plaintiff’s esteem in the minds of right thinking members of society and tarnish plaintiff’s reputation and expose him to public ridicule, hatred and contempt.

Public ridicule

It is plaintiff’s case that Mr Owusu made and published the said defamatory statements of plaintiff without any restraint by Captain Smart as administrator of the said platform.

He averred further that the defamatory statements were without justification and had exposed plaintiff to hatred, ridicule and contempt from members of the public.

He is accordingly praying the court to grant the reliefs.