The president's deputy Chief of Staff Asenso Boakye has sued entertainer-turned-political activist Kwame Asare Obeng also known as A-Plus for ¢20m cedis for defamation.
The deputy Chief of Staff said in his statement of claim, A-Plus who is popular on social media, has waged and sustained "defamatory attacks with malice aforethought."
He referred to two facebook posts on 27 August 2017 and May 23, 2018 where A-Plus told his over 23,000 followers, top government official are corrupt amid insults.
Asenso Boakye said his professional and political reputation built over 15 years has been hurt "in the most damaging fashion" when his name was mentioned in the post.
Represented by Samson Lardy Anyenini, the deputy Chief of Staff prayed the court to grant him nine reliefs and declarations which include an unconditional retraction and an unqualifed apology published in the Daily Graphic.
He also wants eight million cedis for aggravated and exemplary damages and ¢12m compensation for injury to character.
The suit becomes the second in barely two weeks after the Communications minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful also sued A-Plus who has transitioned from music to politics to business.
In May, A-Plus accused the Minister of being involved in “some shady deals at the Communications Ministry and National Communication Authority (NCA).”
The minister handed a June 1 deadline for A-Plus to apologise but the political activist called her bluff.
Her counsel Gary Nimako Marfo filed a defamation suit afterwards but A-Plus responded 'bring it on'.
Attached is the full statement of claim
STATEMENT OF CLAIM
- Plaintiff is Deputy Chief of Staff and Political Assistant to His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.
- Plaintiff is a graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, with a B.Sc. degree in Development Planning. He obtained his Master of Public Policy and Administration degree from Michigan State University, Michigan, USA, as a Rotary Scholar, and also holds a Certificate in Public Sector Management from Tulane University, Louisiana, USA.
- Plaintiff, before his appointment to said office in 2017, was for many years the Political Assistant to Nana Akufo-Addo, then Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, a political party registered under the laws of Ghana.
- Plaintiff, as a Development Planning, Project Management, and Policy Specialist, has over fifteen (15) years of wide-ranging experience in said areas of professional expertise, and he has previously worked in various capacities at the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare (MESW), Global Media Alliance (GMA), Delta Acquisitions and Development, Delaware, USA, Michigan House of Representatives, Michigan, USA, Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), and Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC).
- Plaintiff, a former student activist and the founding president of the tertiary students confederacy of the NPP (TESCON), was well known by many home and abroad even before his present position, and has received recognitions including a special Tribute from the Michigan House of Representatives in recognition of his exemplary service as a legislative staffer while he served as a policy and research associate in the Office of State Representative Michael C. Murphy and to the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) - Michigan House of Representatives, USA.
- Plaintiff in his present position serving the high office of the President of the Republic of Ghana is assigned and undertakes critical responsibilities including assisting in providing oversight over the work of the President’s appointees and coordinating the business of government including various high profile institutions and corporations home and abroad in service of the national interest.
- Plaintiff has, overtime, built a good reputation and is respected by right-thinking members of society, and also as a responsible husband and father of school-going children.
- Defendant is well known as a businessman and musician cum activist with a huge following on social media platforms including facebook where he publicized the series of defamatory statements indorsed on the Writ of Summons by way of an attachment and particularized herein the Statement of Claim, and has often drawn wide mainline media publicity and republication of statements including some of those complained about in this suit.
- Plaintiff avers that Defendant, for a period soon after Plaintiff’s appointment to his current position, has waged and sustained defamatory attacks with malice aforethought to injure and injuring Plaintiff’s character and reputation in a most damaging fashion.
- Plaintiff avers that in pursuance of Defendant’s avowed aim to inflict maximum reputational harm without cause, he has authored and publicized a series of outright falsehoods on social media including on his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheRealAplus/ and/or his other facebook page https://www.facebook.com/APlusgh/ on or about the 27th day of August 2017 and on or about the 22nd and 23rd days of May 2018.
- Plaintiff avers that the particulars of the defamatory statements complained about as authored and publicized by Defendant which referred to and were understood to refer to Plaintiff include essentially the following:
- Paragraphs 1-6 above are repeated.
- The said defamatory statements of 27th August 2017 are as follows:
“NPP delegates congress.... 7 months of NPP government. So far so good except appointing some very corrupt official including the two very stupid chief of staffs. It’s amazing how Nana was able to appoint two thieves whose level of stupidity is the same. Arrogant and corrupt fools. You think you’ll be in power forever. Even John Mahama i was not afraid of him then you...”
- The said defamatory statements of 22nd day of May 2018 are as follows:
“The money diɛ if Kwesi Nyantakyi get am like one guy bi whose name came up will receive his own pɛɛɛ. I'll not be surprised if he had prior notice. That guy is as corrupt as f*ck.... This one too go and call CID 😡😡😡😡😡”
- The said defamatory statements of 23rd day of May 2018 are as follows:
“Kwasi Nyantakyi is only being sacrificed to cover up the alleged 89/178 million dollars GVGKelni stinking scandal. Just about a year ago I accused Asenso of being corrupt. Hon. Kennedy Agyapong is said to have also accused Uslar Owusu of being corrupt and alledged that people are charged huge sums of money before they are allowed to see the president. We were both invited by the CID. A year on, Imani Ghana is accusing Uslar Owusu of some shady deals at the communication ministry and NCA. It is even suspected that this dodgy deal is the reason why a board member has resigned and many who do not want to be implicated in anyway will follow.
It is also being reported that Kwasi Nyantakyi asked people to go and bribe the same Asenso so that he reminds the president of their deal. Out of 27 million people in Ghana you think it's only Nyantakyi who knows how "cheap" Ghana is and who to bribe? We are only hearing about this one that has backfired. It is possible that some have gone through that we don't know of. It is even possible that they went and paid. Who knows?
Kwasi Nyantakyi according to reports financed Nana Addo's campaign. He knows who he dealt with. He knows How It is done. That is why he is said to have told them what to do. The fact of the matter is that 90% of his campaign donations if any wouldn't get to Akuffo Addo. Somebody chopped it.
The alledged corruption didn't begin at the flagstaff house, it begun before they won power. Kwasi Nyantakyi was in the house most of the time. He knows them. The five million, if not paid already, I suspect would have been paid to someone at the office of the president to be given to him which would have never gotten to him. You can not bribe Nana Addo. How dare you!!! As for his people, most of them are as cheap as kelewele and greedy. They dey chop pass the old man ein back nyafunyafu.
Money just dey call them for their brain like trotro wey e dey run suhum Nsawam, Suhum Nsawam, mɔ kɔ Takwa, mɔ kɔ Takwa, suhum Nsawam, Suhum Nsawam.
Nana let me give you a hint. Do you know that some of you appointees are spending as much as hundred thousand Ghana Cedis (one billion old Ghana cedis) on airline tickets to a single destination and back? Plane ticket from Ghana to say korea and back back alone cost hundred thousand Ghana Cedis. Just the plane ticket. We are really protecting the public purse!!!! 🙄🙄🙄😏😏😏”
(c) That Defendant was emphatic in labelling Plaintiff as “corrupt” and his said defamatory statements meant and were naturally and ordinarily understood by right-thinking members of society to mean Plaintiff was a dishonest person and a criminally-minded individual who was in the habit of committing the crime of corruption as a corrupt public official.
(d) That Defendant was emphatic in labelling Plaintiff as being one of two “very stupid”, “[a}rrogant and corrupt fools” who are “thieves” and his said defamatory statements meant and were naturally and ordinarily understood by right-thinking members of society to mean Plaintiff was not only very stupid, arrogant, foolish, corrupt but a dishonest and criminally-minded individual who was in the habit of committing the crime of stealing as a thieve in public office.
(e) That Defendant was emphatic in proclaiming and alleging that Plaintiff was a corrupt public official engaged in same conduct and conduct of thievery either alone or with like–minded persons and his said defamatory statements meant and were naturally and ordinarily understood by right-thinking members of society to mean Plaintiff was a dishonest criminally-minded individual who was committing the criminal offence of corruption, bribery and also extorting money from various persons including those who sought access to the Presidency or audience with the President.
(f) That Defendant was emphatic in proclaiming and alleging that Plaintiff was a corrupt public official engaged in same conduct and conduct of thievery either alone or with like–minded persons and his said defamatory statements meant and were naturally and ordinarily understood by right-thinking members of society to mean Plaintiff was a dishonest and criminally-minded individual who was committing the criminal offence of corruption, bribery in agreeing to accept bribe money to remind the President inter alia of certain meetings with supposed investors and certain persons.
(g) That Defendant was emphatic in proclaiming and alleging that Plaintiff was a corrupt party official of the NPP and engaged in same conduct and conduct of thievery either alone or with like–minded persons and his said defamatory statements meant and were naturally and ordinarily understood by right-thinking members of society to mean Plaintiff was a dishonest and criminally-minded individual who was misappropriating campaign donations made to the NPP and or its Presidential Candidate while serving in a position of advantage to receive said donations for onward delivery to said political party or said candidate.
(h) That Defendant was emphatic in proclaiming and alleging Plaintiff was also an irresponsible and dishonourable person without good morals engaged in unlawful conduct and his said defamatory statements meant and were naturally and ordinarily understood by right-thinking members of society to mean Plaintiff was such a character with a bad reputation, not patriotic and also not law-abiding who could not be trusted and ought to be shunned by all.
- That said defamatory statements, which are in fact pure fabrication and false, were disseminated to a substantial number of unquantifiable persons through the internet and other forms of broadcasts/publications emanating from said facebook pages of Defendant, and Defendant, his agents, assigns, privies or however described succeeding in causing maximum damage to Plaintiff’s reputation.
- That said defamatory statements were made and publicized with malice aforethought, and that the particulars of malice below shall be relied upon by Plaintiff for exemplary and aggravated damages:
- That Defendant’s earlier allegations of dishonest conduct, corruption and related criminal conduct against Plaintiff were duly investigated by the Ghana Police Service and found and declared to be unproven and false.
- That Defendant’s earlier allegations of dishonest conduct, corruption and related criminal conduct against Plaintiff were duly investigated by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and found and adjudged to be unproven and false.
- That Defendant who participated fully in said investigations knew and ought to have known of the outcome yet ignored same to continue to perpetrate said defamatory statements.
- That Defendant deliberately made and publicized said defamatory comments in the most sensational fashion and among others for purposes of inflicting maximum injury to Plaintiff and to increase Defendant’s social media followership.
- That Defendant fabricated said falsehoods and/or elevated same by republication deliberately and without the slightest care to verify said defamatory comments.
- That said defamatory statements were variously made and publicized by Defendant and subsequently even upon caution to Defendant.
- That said defamatory statements except that of August 2017 remain on Defendant’s said facebook pages still being commented upon, circulated and shared widely despite a formal demand on Defendant to retract and apologise unconditionally to Plaintiff.
- That further to subparagraph (g) above, Defendant having admitted making and publicizing said defamatory statements has refused to retract and apologise as same were actuated by malice aforethought and intended to cause maximum damage and hurt to Plaintiff’s reputation.
- That Defendant has caused grave damage to Plaintiff’s reputation, as right-thinking people have, in spite of Plaintiff’s denial of said statements, continued to rely on same to pour scorn on him among others holding him as a criminal/criminally-minded individual and not-trustworthy among the meanings as particularized in paragraph 11 (c)-(h) above.
- Plaintiff contends that unless restrained by this Honourable Court, Defendant will continue to author and publish and republish said defamatory statements including making further such statements as he has shown overtime as complained of herein.
WHEREFORE Plaintiff claims against Defendant the following:
- A declaration that the statements/publications complained about as having been authored and publicized by Defendant on or about the 27th day of August 2017 and on or about the 22nd and 23rd days of May 2018 as particularized in Statement of Claim and indorsed on the Writ of Summons by way of an attachment are defamatory of Plaintiff and same have gravely injured Plaintiff’s reputation.
- An Order for an unconditional retraction and an unqualified apology for the said defamatory statements/publications, doing so in the Daily Graphic newspaper, and for same to be given equal prominence as the complained statements/publications within 14 days from the day of judgment.
- An Order that the contents of relief (ii) above be subject to the prior approval of Plaintiff, and for Defendant to also post same on all his social media pages and give same equal prominence as the complained statements/publications within 14 days from the day of judgment.
- An Order of perpetual injunction restraining Defendant from any further statements/publications as complained about herein.
- General damages.
- Aggravated and exemplary damages of 8,000.000.00 (Eight Million Ghana Cedis).
- Compensatory damages of GHC 12,000,000.00 (Twelve Million Ghana Cedis) for injury to character and reputation.
- Costs including legal fees.
- Further or other reliefs as the Court may deem fit.