Otumfuo intervenes in Ibrahim’s suit

asanti heneThe Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has appealed to Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, a brother of the President to endeavour to settle out of court the defamation suit he has filed against Mr. Bernard Antwi Boasiako, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu made the appeal when both Mr. Mahama and Mr. Boasiako attended the “Adaekese” held at the Manhyia Palace, last Sunday.

Meanwhile, hearing of the suit has been adjourned to December 16, 2014, because the presiding High Court Judge, Justice Ringo C. Azumah, is indisposed.

It is, however, uncertain if the plaintiff, would pursue the case following the appeal made by the Asantehene.

Mr. Mahama, on May 5, this year, filed a suit against Mr. Boasiako, popularly known as Chairman Wontumi for defamation, and is claiming GH¢2,000,000 as damages.

For the second time, the plaintiff was in court but the defendant did not appear.

Addressing the media, counsel for both plaintiff and defendant admitted there were some discussions going on behind the scenes.

Mr. Charles Zwennes, counsel for Mr. Mahama, said: ‘There is a good saying that the word ‘sorry’ does a lot to mend the broken heart. We have a great amount of respect for the wisdom of our leaders within our society. And, in their wisdom, they believe that when you say ‘sorry’ it makes you a bigger man than when you choose not to say ‘sorry’.

Kwabena Attah-Adjei, counsel for Mr Boasiako, said: ‘We have heard of some settlement in the backroom but we are here as defendants. They are the ones that brought us here. If they have seen wisdom in the intervention being made by the powers that be and want to settle, then we will agree. My client would not mind to say ‘sorry’ to him, if indeed that is what will mend his heart”.

In his statement of claim, Mr. Mahama indicated that on March 30, 2014 at a ‘People’s Forum’, the Ashanti Regional NPP Chairman, Barnard Antwi Boasiako mounted a platform before a large public audience and said:

“President Mahama and his brother, Ibrahim, have loaded all the money into their pockets. Each and every day, they increase petrol prices and then you and I, the downtrodden, suffer to pay for the increases”.

The statement said Chairman Wontumi stressed .‘They keep the monies in their pockets, and use it to buy aeroplanes-in which they fly. Each week, President Mahama and his brother, Ibrahim, travel to South Africa. You, my brother, the monies President Mahama has given to his brother, have you got any? Does someone pay for your children’s school fees?”

It said the statements made by Mr. Boasiako were repeated through rebroadcasts on radio stations across the nation and were published in various tabloids, newspapers and on internet websites accessible both locally and abroad.

Stressing that in 2012, a construction company, Engineers and Planners of which Mr Mahama is a major investor and shareholder, acquired an aeroplane for use by the company in its trade and business, the statement said Mr. Boasiako’s comments meant that the brother of the President is a thief.

It alleged that Mr Mahama had benefitted greatly from the proceeds of his ill-gotten gains realised from the his daily practice of stealing from the Republic of Ghana and its citizenry that he had been able to buy himself an aeroplane as a result.

The statement said the NPP Regional Chairman made those statements maliciously, recklessly and or not caring whether they were false or not.

In consequence, the statement said, the reputation of Mr Mahama had been seriously damaged in the minds of right thinking members of society, and had suffered considerable hurts, distress, embarrassment and damage to his personal reputation and that of his business.

Earlier, Mr Zwennes asked the court for a fast trial of the case because the defamatory statements were already in the public domain and so hurting the reputation of his client and his work.

But, counsel for the NPP Chairman though not against the fast trial, asked the court to fix the date after the yuletide in view of the fact that the court has a tight schedule to which Justice Azumah retorted: “It is not your domain to make that decision”.

From Kingsley E. Hope & Gideon Botwe, Kumasi

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