Use Of Presidential Jet: Prez Akufo-Addo’s Brother Sues Four For Defamation

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s younger brother is suing Mensah Thompson and three others for alleging that he uses the presidential jet for his private gain

Edward Akufo-Addo (Plaintiff/Applicant), younger brother of the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has instituted a defamation court action against the Class Media Group, operators of Accra 100.5 FM and three other persons.

The other defendants are Kwabena Bobie Ansah, presenter at Class FM 100.5, Mensah Thompson, the executive director of Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) and Listowell Nana Kusi-Poku, executive secretary of Good Governance Advocacy Ghana (defendants).

Akufo-Addo is asking for GHC10,000,000 for defamation contained in a publication in which the defendants accused him of having access to and using the country’s presidential jet because of his family ties with the president.

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In the statement of claim filed by lawyer for the applicant, Kwaku Asirifi, and dated 3 June 2021, Akufo-Addo is claiming four reliefs jointly from the defendants.

Reliefs sought by plaintiff:

First the plaintiff wants GHC10,000,000 damages for defamation contained in the publication by defendants on 29/05/2021 and more particularised in paragraph 9 of this Statement of Claim.

Secondly, Akufo-Addo is demanding “an apology and retraction of the words complained of particularly in paragraph 9 of the Statement of Claim with the same prominence as the impugned publication.”

Thirdly, the Plaintiff is seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants whether by themselves, their servants, agents or assigns from repeating same or other similar words of and concerning plaintiff. Lastly, he is asking for cost inclusive of legal fees.

Basis for the court action:

Paragraph nine of the Statement of Claim sums up the entire contention of Akufo-Addo. It states as follows; “the following are the verbatim reproduction of the impugned parts of the statements made by the 2nd, 3d and 4 Defendants using 1s Defendant’s radio station.

“Mensah: No, but we cannot continue to allow these people to take us to ransom. That presidential jet he has rejected, he says it cannot fly and all that, while he was traveling with the rented one, his sibling Bompty is the one who now uses the presidential jet.

“Bobie: You don’t mean it.

“Mensah: I am telling you, that’s a fact. Bompty uses the presidential jet, he uses it. The presidential jet is at the disposal of Bompty, your brother. It is the one he travels in wherever he goes. When you have wasted the resources of the country to rent the private jet then your brother would be cruising in this one.

“Bobie: Master are you sure?
“Mensah: It is the fact; I am telling you. I am saying this on authority that the presidential jet, the Falcon, is at the disposal of Bompty.

“Listowell: Yes, his younger brother.

“Mensah: That’s the one his younger brother is cruising in around. We don’t know what he is doing. It is the country fueling it (presidential jet). Commander (referring to Bobie Ansah), all this information, it’s the embassies who give us this information because they track the flight radar of the Falcon. So when the presidential jet, having gone to hire a private jet, the Falcon would be in Abuja. Who was using the Falcon in Abuja? Bompty! What are we confronted with in this town? You see, all these are there and Ghanaians we are not angry enough! This Falcon was bought by President Kufuor, who used it.

“Bobie: Kufuor bought it at the tail end of his administration.

“Mensah: When Mills came, he used it. Mahama came and also used it. You came just 2018, you have spent monies to change the interior of the Falcon, wasted the country’s funds and afterwards you say you don’t have need for it. You are spending the country’s money to charter flights traveling around and have given the Falcon to your sibling as if it were a family property. Is the Falcon a property of the family? Is the Falcon your family property to put it at the disposal of your brother?”

Contention of the applicant:

Akufo-Addo describes the exchanges above as completely untrue indicating that “the words complained of are utterly false and a product of the Defendants malicious imagination and were calculated solely to disparage him and bring his name into opprobrium”.

“Plaintiff says that save that the President of Ghana is his brother, he holds no public office and has never had personal use of the Presidential Jet (the Falcon). Plaintiff says in point of fact that, even though members of his family play paramount roles in public service in Ghana, he has throughout his life endeavoured to live a private life devoid of public eyes and has succeeded until the impugned publication by the Defendants”.

“By reason of the impugned publication, Plaintiff’s reputation and character has been severely damaged and he has suffered considerable embarrassment, emotional torment and distress. The Plaintiff has been brought into public odium and contempt,” the Statement of Claim said.

“Plaintiff says that the damage caused to his reputation is substantial as a result of his several years of education out of Ghana and extensive business dealings with partners outside Ghana. Plaintiff says that the impugned publication by Defendants has received huge circulation on social media platforms causing Plaintiff to receive several calls from concerned friends, business partners and family members in the country and abroad. Plaintiff says that unless otherwise restrained by this Honourable Court, Defendants will continue to publish similar and other defamatory statements about the Plaintiff,” Akufo-Addo’s Statement of Claim added.

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