Wontumi Faces Ibrahim Over Defamation

New Patriotic Party (NPP) Ashanti Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi-Boasiako aka Chairman Wontumi, has entered conditional appearance in the case in which Ibrahim Mahama, younger brother of President John Dramani Mahama, is suing him for defamation.

Mr. Mahama had to file a substituted service in order to locate Chairman Wontumi because the plaintiff claimed the NPP guru could not be traced.

The ‘Notice of entry of conditional appearance’ was filed yesterday by Chairman Wontumi’s solicitors, Faibille & Faibille, Constance Chambers, at Asylum Down in Accra.

Mr. Mahama, through his solicitors, Gaisie Zwennes Hughes & Co, wants GH¢2 million damages to be awarded against Chairman Wontumi for defamatory statements he allegedly made against the President’s brother.

According to the plaintiff, Chairman Wontumi had allegedly said among other things that “President Mahama and his brother Ibrahim have loaded all the money into their pockets. Each and every day they increase petrol prices and then you and I, the downtrodden, suffer to pay for the increases – they keep the monies in their pockets, and use them to buy planes – aeroplanes – in which they fly.”

The plaintiff further claimed, “Each week, President Mahama and his brother Ibrahim travel to South Africa. You, my brother, the monies President Mahama has given to his brother, have you got any? Does someone pay your children’s school fees?”

He also wants an order directed at Chairman Wontumi to publish a full unqualified apology to him and a retraction of the statements made in all the newspapers in which the statements were repeated by their publications.

In his statement of claim, the plaintiff averred that the words spoken of by the defendant are understood to mean that he (Ibrahim) is a thief and a dishonest man with criminal tendencies.

“That the plaintiff is somehow engaged in a secretly orchestrated enterprise of stealing those monies which happened to be public funds, having been realised from the citizenry of Ghana by the Head of the government of Ghana under a false pretext,” the statement indicated.

The plaintiff further averred that the defamatory statements were made in a manner that was calculated to cause “maximum damage and hurt to the plaintiff’s reputation by causing him to be unanimously held in contempt and disdain throughout the nation.

“Indeed, the defendant concluded his defamatory statement by letting out a clarion call for a people’s uprising to ‘replicate what happened in Tunisia’.”

Ibrahim said, “The defamatory statements were made maliciously by the defendant, who made the statements recklessly and/or not caring whether they were true or false. The defamatory statements were made in a manner that damaged the plaintiff’s reputation in the manner of his trade and business as an honest businessman who has achieved success by dint of his own hard work.”

He added, “Despite being given a fair and more than ample opportunity to retract and apologise to the plaintiff for the defamatory statements made, as requested in the plaintiff’s lawyer’s letter dated 11th April 2014, the defendant refused to so do, and treated the request with contempt.”