Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta has instituted legal action against radio and TV show host Captain Smart for recent comments that the minister was a direct beneficiary of recently released bailout funds from a global lender.
In a High Court writ dated Friday, June 2, 2023 and sighted by GhanaWeb, the minister’s lawyer holds that comments by Captain Smart on his Onua Maakye programme late last month were defamatory.
He is seeking GH¢10 million in damages.
The court papers noted that on 22 May 2023, in the course of Captain Smart’s programme, the defendant used the following defamatory claims: “Are you aware that Ken Ofori Atta has taken his 10% of the IMF money? Every loan we take, he takes 10%.”
“The above statements are not only palpably false [and] absolutely fabricated, but were also deliberately calculated to disparage the plaintiff. Those words are malicious and were clearly further intended to convey and would be understood to convey meanings that diminish the plaintiff in the minds of right-thinking members of society,” the statement of case filed by Ofori-Atta’s lawyer read.
“The said words, set out in their natural and ordinary meaning, meant and were understood to mean, inter alia, that the plaintiff is corrupt, that the plaintiff has diverted public funds and that the plaintiff has abused his office.
“By reason of the foregoing, Plaintiff has been greatly injured in his credit, character and reputation, and has been brought into public scandal, ridicule, distress and embarrassment and has thereby suffered damage,” the statement of case further read.
Ken Ofori-Atta is praying for “a declaration that the words uttered by the defendant, ‘Are you aware that Ken Ofori Atta has taken his 10% of the IMF money? Every loan we take he [Ken Ofori-Atta] takes 10%’ are defamatory of the plaintiff” (Ofori-Atta).
Second, “recovery of the sum of ten million Ghana cedis (GHC10,000,000) as general damages, including aggravated and/or exemplary damages for defamation, for the libel uttered by defendant”.
Third, Ofori-Atta is demanding “an apology for and retraction of the words complained of and particularised.”
Fourth, a “perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, whether by himself, his servants, agents or assigns, from repeating similar or other defamatory words against the plaintiff”.
Final prayer is for the court to award costs against Captain Smart.
Read the six-page writ below: