Edward Akufo-Addo, brother of President Nana Akufo-Addo, has opened his case in a suit he filed against Class Media Group, operators of Accra-based Class FM, a host of the station, Kwabena Bobbie Ansah, as well as two panelists for unsubstantiated comments aimed at damaging his reputation.
Mensah Thompson, the Executive Director of Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), who is the third defendant, during a programme hosted by Bobbie Ansah on Class FM had alleged that the plaintiff was in the possession of the Presidential Jet – ‘The Falcon’, which he uses for his private businesses while the President was travelling with a rented one.
Mensah Thompson further went on to allege that it is the state that fuels the Presidential Jet which Edward Akufo-Addo uses for his private business.
Mr. Akufo-Addo, in his claims, denied the allegations, describing them as “utterly false and a product of the defendants’ malicious imagination and were calculated solely to disparage him and bring his name into opprobrium.”
The plaintiff, in his witness statement, indicated that despite the fact that his family is well-known in Ghana for public service, he himself has personally not served in public office in Ghana throughout his life, as he has consciously endeavoured to live a private life free of public scrutiny.
He said aside the fact that the President is his brother, he has never held public office and has never used the Presidential Jet for his personal business as published by the defendants.
Mr. Akufo-Addo further stated that Mensah Thompson and Listowell Nana Kusi-Poku, Executive Director of Good Governance and Advocacy Group Ghana, made the impugned statements on Class FM without any form of diligence on the matter even though as citizens, they could have exercised their rights under the Right to Information Act, 2019 to enquire about the matters they spoke of.
“My business endeavours within and outside Ghana coupled with my close association with the sitting President of Ghana has aggravated the damage caused me by defendant’s impugned publication,” he disclosed.
The plaintiff further adds that the defendant’s impugned publication has greatly reduced his standing in the eyes of right-thinking men in society, and urged the court to grant his relief endorsed on his writ of summons to curtail and compensate him for the damage.
Victor Adawudu, counsel for Mensah Thompson, in his cross-examination of the plaintiff suggested that the Presidential Jet is a state property and the cost of running and maintaining it comes from public coffers. Mr. Akufo-Addo said yes, he would imagine so.
Mr. Adawudu asked Mr. Akufo-Addo if he has ever boarded the Presidential Jet and he said yes, he did so two or three times with the President to Kumasi and once from Kumasi to Accra with the First Lady.
“I am suggesting to you that in accordance with protocol and some procedures, prominent citizens are allowed to use the Presidential Jet,” he asked. “Sorry, My Lord, I do not know this to be a fact,” the plaintiff responded.
The lawyer then asked the plaintiff how much he paid for the travel on the occasions that he used the Presidential Jet with the President, and Mr. Akufo-Addo said, “I didn’t pay anything. The President did not ask me to pay.”
“Putting it to you that the courtesies that you enjoyed without paying for was borne by government machinery from public funds,” Mr. Adawudu further asked.
“I am sure the flight was paid for from public funds, but I do not think my joining of the flight incurred any additional costs. My brother was going there in any event,” the plaintiff answered.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak