PrimeNewsGhana

Ato Forson didn't defame you, he won't apologize - Lawyers tell Martin Amidu

By Mutala Yakubu
Martin Amidu (left) and Ato Forson (right)
Martin Amidu (left) and Ato Forson (right)

Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance committee, Cassiel Ato Forson's lawyers have stated categorically that their client did not defame the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu and he will not apologize.

Mr. Amidu in a letter to Ato Forson last week gave him an ultimatum to apologize to him over certain remarks he made with regards to a judgment debt issue.

Mr. Amidu had threatened to sue Ato Forson if he refuses to apologize but Ato Forson's lawyers say their client will not issue an apology.

But Ato Forson’s lawyers responding in a letter signed by Godwin Kudzo Tameklo, insisted that “the words uttered and published by our client, and irrespective of whatever spin is placed on the words, it is obvious our client never defamed you. In consequence, your claim that our client defamed you and therefore must render an unqualified apology to you is not borne out of the statement made by him.”

Mr. Tameklo in the letter argued that “the specific claims of malice and innuendos linked to the statement made by our client are not borne out of the words uttered and published but solely as a result of the spin that you have conveniently placed on the words.”

“Also, we wish to serve notice that our client is not only a Member of Parliament but he is the Ranking Member on [the] Finance [Committee] and that he made the aforementioned statement to the Parliamentary Press Corp as part of his role in scrutinizing government finances. Your threat to sue him for making the statement as part of his role as a Ranking Member on [the] Finance [Committee] smacks of an attempt to curtail his freedom of speech in Parliament.”

“On the basis of the above, we have advised our client against rendering the unqualified apology on the basis solely of defamation or at all,” lawyers of Ato Forson who is also Minority Spokesperson on Finance added.

Below is the letter Ato Forson’s lawyers wrote to the Special Prosecutor:

Background
The Finance Minister revealed that the Akufo-Addo administration had paid over GHc280 million as judgment debts since it took office in 2017, Mr. Forson told journalists he had information indicating the Special Prosecutor had been paid some judgment debts.

Mr. Forson is reported to have questioned the legitimacy of a judgment debt allegedly paid the Special Prosecutor and two other persons.

Mr Forson said: “We are hearing and on authority, we are hearing that they have paid the likes of McDan, they have paid Bankswitch, they have paid even the Special Prosecutor an amount of judgment debt, as to whether they qualify to receive that amount, is something we will have to investigate.”

Mr. Amidu wrote a letter to Mr. Forson and has asked him to respond within seven days or take action against him.

“Should I not hear from you within the next seven days, I will be compelled to advise myself as to the proper action to take to vindicate my hard-won reputation which you have intentionally, maliciously and gravely injured and brought into disrepute.”

Mr. Amidu in the letter insisted that he has “never been paid any money by any government in my official capacity or because of my position as the Special Prosecutor.”

He described the comments as “malicious” and “defamatory” adding that he believed observers had interpreted them to mean “that government had unlawfully colluded with me in my capacity as the Special Prosecutor to dubiously pay me some money and other benefits resulting from court orders.

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