The national treasurer of the People’s National Convention, Mr David Apasera, has declared his preparedness to face the flag bearer of the party in the 2012 elections, Mr Hassan Ayariya, at the law courts.
He said he had already given the summons brought to him by Ayariga’s lawyers to his lawyers and they were preparing the appropriate response and enter an appearance in the High Court on his behalf.
‘’Certainly, whether I like it or not, I have to defend myself and let the people know whether I am right or wrong in accusing him of keeping party property to himself as his personal property,’’ Mr Apasera explained.
He said Ayariya had already admitted that he collected money from friends and “if you are a party member and especially a flag bearer of a party, you represent the party so you cannot distinguish yourself from the party when you approach people to raise funds.That is my belief,’’ Mr Apasera stressed.
He said he was, therefore, ready to meet Ayariga at court first to defend himself and second, to be proved right or wrong that the monies raised by Ayariga as the flag bearer of the party belonged to the party and not his personal property.
Mr Apasera explained that in his capacity as a former Member of Parliament for Bolga Central on the party’s ticket and as the current national treasurer of the party, if he raised money in his official capacity as a party member, the money would not be for him but for the party.
Mr Ayariga has sued Mr Apasera at the Fast Track High Court for defamation of character.
He is claiming exemplary damages of GH¢1million and also praying the court to restrain Mr Apasera and his agents from further publishing articles which are defamatory about him.
Mr Chris Acummey, the lawyer for Mr Ayariga, who filed the suit, told the Daily Graphic that the writ of summons, issued on February 14, 2014, had been served on Mr Apasera.
In his statement of claim, the plaintiff said from February 6, 2014, business partners, friends, relations and some politicians drew his attention through phone calls to the publication of a defamatory story about him in the Ghanaian media, alleging that he had embezzled GH¢1,600.00 meant for the party’s campaign in the 2012 presidential election.
The statement also said the defamatory story disclosed that the money was a donation to the party which the plaintiff received on the party’s behalf to be used to pay party agents who policed the 2012 elections, but the agents had still not been paid.
It said Mr Apasera and his group further published that the plaintiff was given two V8 Land Cruisers, pickups and other cars which he had been keeping in his house as his personal property.
According to the statement, in spite of his plaintiff’s denials, the defendant and his cohort, one Adam Akane, became uncontrollable and went from one radio station to another to further destroy his hard-won reputation and honour.
It said the publications meant that Ayariga had willfully, maliciously and fraudulently kept money and cars belonging to the PNC party to himself, which affected the chances of the PNC winning the 2012 elections.
It further said the publication also sought to reveal that the plaintiff had embezzled money belonging to the PNC and meant for the 2012 elections and to that extent, he could and ought not be trusted in any capacity to lead or be the presidential candidate of the PNC party in future presidential elections.
It noted that the defendant and his cohort had mapped out various strategies and must be restrained by the court from his evil intentions since all the publications were calculated to make the plaintiff lose favour with the delegates of the PNC and the electorate of Ghana, thereby injuring his political career.
It would be recalled that in the February 7, 2014 issue of the Daily Graphic, Mr Ayariga advised members of his party not to tarnish the image of hard-working members of the party for political gains.
He dismissed allegations of embezzlement, adding that he was not accountable to the party for money spent during the 2012 elections. His comments came on the heels of allegations by the treasurer, Mr Apasera, that he had taken and was hoarding party cars and money.
According to Mr Apasera, Mr Ayariga received a number of vehicles, including Land Cruisers and pickups, as well as various amounts as donations, to the party but he kept all of them.
Mr Apasera’s accusations against Mr Ayariga follow demands by a youth group in the party, Convention Forum, for the party’s leaders to account for GH¢1.6 million of campaign funds meant for the 2012 elections.
Mr Ayariga conceded receiving some money from brothers and friends for his campaign just as his other presidential candidates did but he did not receive money and vehicles on behalf of the party, and added that all expenses for his 2012 campaign were borne by him.
According to him, he was compelled to close down all his three restaurants because he had to channel funds from those personal businesses into his campaign.