Fake Chief, Multimedia, Others Slapped With GHc10 Million Lawsuit
A Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister, George Mireku Duker, has dragged three parties, including self-acclaimed chief of Dompim Pepesa, Nathaniel Dekyi, alias Nana Nyonwah Panyin IV, to the Accra High Court for defamation.
The plaintiff, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa Nsuaem constituency in the Western Region, is demanding damages of GH₵10million from the defendants.
The lawsuit follows allegation by the self-styled chief on the above-mentioned radio stations that the Deputy Lands Minister is involved in, and-or is a beneficiary of, illegal mining, infamously known as galamsey, in the Dompim area.
But in a writ filed yesterday October 17, and sighted by The Anchor, lawyer for the Deputy Minister, Oheneba Asusi-Poku, asked the court to declare that the publications by the defendants against the plaintiff are defamatory.
In his Statement of Claim, the plaintiff demands, among others, “An order for interim and perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants their agents, assigns, workmen, privies, allies, friends, servants associates any other person(s), however described or whosoever claims through them from sharing, spreading, disseminating, transmitting, parting with or in any other way or manner the offensive and defamatory publication and other media platforms and a further order compelling the Defendants to remove the said video from its page.”
The writ also asks for an order directed at the defendants to render an unreservedly apology for the said statements for seven times in the Daily Graphic and on the same platform the said defamatory statements were published.
According to the plaintiff, “the Defendants published the words complained of knowing they were false, or reckless as to their truth, adding, “The Defendants published the words complained of on live radio or live television to their knowledge, to an unquantifiable number of listeners and on the Internet on the World Wide Web.”
The plaintiff argues that, “The Defendants knew or ought reasonably to have known that once the words complained of were published on the Internet it could and would be accessed by an unquantifiable number of subscribers to the Internet around the world.”
He mentions that, “the Defendants knew once the publication was made it would be culled and reproduced on the website of other media houses, bloggers and accessible to countless numbers of persons worldwide.
According to him, “indeed within hours of the publication a great number of viewers had commented on same and most of the comments were pejorative and deprecatory of the plaintiff.”
He insists that, “The Defendants were malicious in their publications of the words complained of. As the defendants are aware, plaintiff is not into illegal mining: Plaintiff has never been the prime suspect of any illegal mining investigation, he has never been charged or been before any court for illegal mining, nor has he been convicted of engaging illegal mining in any jurisdiction.”
Prior to the writ, Mr. Duker, in an interview with the media, disclosed his lawyers were set, already looking for the 1st Defendant in the person of Mr. Dekyi to serve him.
“Obviously, my lawyers have sued; they are looking for him to serve him. Those stations that he issued those statements on, they are going to be served this morning,” he said.
When asked if the confusion in his constituency is politically motivated, Mr. Duker said, “Absolutely that is it. It is people who are eyeing my seat; it is internal people who are eyeing my seat who are interested. Even before this publication, I had been informed that they were going to do that, but because I have clear conscience and people wanted me to pay money just to prevent it from coming out and I said oh I mean I have clear conscience I wouldn’t follow this, sorry for my language, nonsense.”
According to him, the issue has been lingering on for some time now and that it is as a result of internal politics, as some people have been eyeing his seat.
He said his nephew, at the centre of the issue, tried as much as he could, ahead of the 2020 general elections, to oust him, with press conferences and later wrote to President Akufo-Addo not to appoint him as a deputy minister, stressing that the issue has nothing to do with galamsey.
“You know, I am an MP, they voted for me. You know in my community you will by all means have opposition, even the one alleging is my nephew, so you should know that, and it is a long standing….. if you followed the 2020 elections you will realize where this is coming from. He organized press conferences against me, he even wrote a letter to the President not to appoint me and all that, so it has his own connotations,” he said.
He debunked the illegal mining tag, saying he cannot be linked to the act because he knows what entails in mining and that if he wanted to mine, he would have done the needful.
He insisted the facts on the ground do not support the claims made against him and the security agencies can attest to that.
“I think the answer is very straight forward. If I want to do mining, who is responsible for mining in Ghana? If I want to do mining, who is responsible? Why should I go and do illegal mining? I mean it doesn’t add up.
“It is not about mining, he knows we have the security agencies on the field, we have the NIB, we have national security, we have all that, so they have all, so they have the facts.”
Mr. Duker said that, despite the odds and efforts by some to derail his work, he is focused to assist his minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, to deliver on their mandate.
“I have to get focused and do what I have been assigned to do by the people of this country and for that matter the President and get our river bodies clean, make sure the environment is clean, support my minister to succeed, that is my mandate and that is what I am doing. I am focused and I will not be derailed,” he added.