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Gabby Sues Palaver Over "Completely False $20m" story

Politics

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Publisher of the Daily Statesman and Founder of the Danquah Institute, has sued Revelap Publishers and Suppliers Limited, publishers of the Palaver newspaper, together with the Editor, Tetteh Amedjoe, for publishing what he considers a libelous story, calculated to tarnish his reputation.

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Publisher of the Daily Statesman and Founder of the Danquah Institute, has sued Revelap Publishers and Suppliers Limited, publishers of the Palaver newspaper, together with the Editor, Tetteh Amedjoe, for publishing what he considers a libelous story, calculated to tarnish his reputation.

 

The Palaver, in its Tuesday, September 12, 2017, edition, alleged that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, had “packaged a juicy contract and given it to a law firm founded by his equally controversial nephew, Asare Otchere Darko, popularly called Gabby.”

According to the newspaper, Mr Otchere-Darko’s law firm, Africa Legal Associates, had been contracted by Mr Ofori-Atta to review all agreements and contracts entered into by the Finance Ministry over the last 15 years.

“Our sources say the contract estimated at US$ 20 million has the strange feature of being open-ended with no discernible time limits.

Further investigations show that owing to an obvious lack of capacity, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko has recruited, US Law firm, White and Case to undertake the exercise. Another worrying aspect of this contract is the lack of clarity on the procurement process used to select Africa Legal Associates, given that they were only recently established,” the paper alleged.

The Palaver story continued that the contract was most likely to have been awarded on sole-sourcing basis.

“They posit that Gabby’s family ties to the scandal-prone Ken Ofori Atta and his overbearing influence on his uncle, Akufo Addo, may have influenced his firm’s selection due to its clear lack of capacity and measurable expertise in the field.

Concerns have also been raised about the nebulous Terms of Reference (TOR) for the project apart from the vague task of reviewing agreements over the last fifteen years,” the paper added.

But, Gabby, as he is affectionately called, insists there is no iota of truth in the story that was only meant to tarnish his reputation as a lawyer.

In a writ filed at the High Court yesterday by his counsel, Kissi Agyebeng, plaintiff pointed out that “in their natural and ordinary meaning, the words published and/or caused to be published, and republished and/or caused to be republished by the defendants…referred to and were understood to refer to the plaintiff and they meant and were understood to mean that: i. the Plaintiff is a member of a scandal-prone family and he was in cahoots with the Finance Minister of the Republic to fleece the Republic of US$20 million  or GHC100 million; ii. the Plaintiff, in cahoots with the Finance Minister of the Republic, fraudulently procured a contract from the Republic to the detriment of the Republic; iii.the Plaintiff is an odious and contemptible person who engages in corruption of/and with public officials; iv.the plaintiff is nepotistic and that he engages in unfair and publicly opprobrious practices to secure contracts; v.the plaintiff is running a shady and sleazy law firm.”

According to the plaintiff, what was produced in the newspaper were utterly false, products of the defendants’  imagination, calculated to disparage him and to create disaffection  for him and to tarnish his image, both in Ghana and the international community.

This, he stated, had grossly damaged his reputation as a lawyer.

“Further, he has been inundated with numerous calls from business associates and social relations and friends and outright strangers, and he has had to answer very mortifying questions,” he the writ added.

According to the Statement of Claim, plaintiff would rely on the fact that “the defendant published the words complained of knowing they were false, or recklessly as to their truth or otherwise – having calculated that the benefit to the defendants in respect of the increased sales and circulation of he newspaper – Ghana Palaver – would outweigh any compensation payable to the plaintiff,” to support a claim of damages.

Moreover, the plaintiff added that the “defendants knew and intended that their publication of the words complained of should be so published and republished and/or such publication and republication was the natural and probable consequences of their publication.”

The plaintiff is, therefore, claiming damages, including “aggravated damages, for libel contained in the defendants’ publication endorsed on the writ of summons.

He is also seeking “an injunction restraining the defendants and each of them, whether by themselves, their servants, or agents or otherwise, from further publishing or causing to be published the said or similar words  defamatory of the plaintiff,” as well as “cost, including lawyers’ fees.”