The saga between the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, and a radio and television host Blessed Godsbrain Smart common known in the media space as Captain Smart has taken a new turn, as details of the alleged defamatory statement made by Smart have now been revealed.
The remarks made by the loquacious talk show host allegedly centered around Ghana’s recently approved International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme. Ofori-Atta’s office says that Smart’s allegations were entirely without merit as they were based on inaccurate information and were meant to falsely tarnish the finance minister’s image.
According to a writ filed at the High Court on Friday June 2, 2023, Smart, during the course of his “Maakye with Captain Smart” programme on 22nd May 2023, broadcasted a statement that read, “Are you aware that Ken Ofori-Atta has taken his 10% of the IMF money”? “Every loan we take he takes 10%”.
The writ further states that these words were defamatory of the plaintiff, and were intended to damage his reputation both personally and professionally. Ofori-Atta’s lawyers claim that the statement by Smart was entirely false and without merit, alleging that the assertion that the Finance Minister had taken a 10% cut of the IMF loan was entirely untrue.
The lawsuit further claims that the statements have affected Ofori-Atta’s personal and professional reputation.
“The above statements are not only palpably false, 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 Ken 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.
Mr Ofori-Atta’s lawyer also indicated that by a letter dated 29th May 2023, they wrote to Blessed Godsbrain Smart (A.K.A. Captain Smart), demanding an apology and retraction of the defamatory statements but the Defendant failed as well as refused to do so.
As a result, the Plaintiff is seeking for five reliefs from the court.
Mr 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 (Ken Ofori-Atta).
Also, “recovery of the sum of Ten Million Ghana Cedis (GHCI0,000,000) as general damages including aggravated and/or exemplary damages for defamation for the libel uttered by Defendant”.
Furthermore, Mr Ofori-Atta, is demanding “an apology for and retraction of the words complained of and particularized and 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.
The last prayer of Mr Ofori-Atta is for the court to award cost against Captain Smart.
It is not yet clear if Smart or his legal team will issue an official response to the claims made by Ofori-Atta.
However, the case will soon be heard by the court, and it will be interesting to see what outcome the trial delivers.
By Vincent Kubi