President Jerry John Rawlings
TH E CASE initiated by former President Jerry John Rawlings at an Accra Fast Track High Court restraining Ghana’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Professor Kwaku Danso-Boafo, from launching a book entitled, ‘JJ Rawlings and the Democratic Transition in Ghana’, is set to be settled out of court.
This was made known yesterday by Samuel Atta Akyea, counsel for Mr. Rawlings, when the case was called in a court presided over by Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh.
According to him, there had been efforts between his client and the defendant to settle the matter out of court, praying the court to give them time to attempt a settlement after which they would return to court and inform the judge as to whether or not they were successful.
According to Atta Akyea, after informing the court about the move to have the case settled out of court, the former president, who had just returned from some international engagements, expressed his willingness to meet Prof Danso-Boafo, former Minister of Health under Mr. Rawlings’ administration.
He said both counsel had already met over the matter and that Prof Danso-Boafo could decide the forum for the meeting with Mr. Rawlings.
‘If they are successful then Rawlings would have found his friend again,’ Atta Akyea told the court amidst laughter.
The case has been consequently adjourned to October 9, 2014. Rawlings was represented in court by Kobina Andoh Amoakwa of the office of the former president, while Prof Danso-Boafo was in court.
Alex Quartey was counsel for the defendant.
The book was initially scheduled to be launched on August 20, 2014 but Mr. Rawlings wanted the event cancelled altogether, accusing Professor Danso-Boafo of bad faith by reneging on an earlier agreement reached on the book.
Mr. Rawlings, in his affidavit in support of the motion, stated that Prof. Danso-Boafo had undertaken to wait for him (Rawlings) to review the book and correct all factual inaccuracies in it, but ‘has breached his own solemn undertaking with me and has published it with the view to launching it’.
The plaintiff believed the professor had not extended the courtesy due him relating to the said agreement and had only dropped a special invitation inviting him to the launch of the unapproved book.
The former president said in 2006, the former High Commissioner, who was his former Minister of Health, approached him that he intended writing a book on his role in Ghana’s history, with strong emphasis on how he transitioned from military rulership to constitutional governance.
Rawlings said after receiving the request, he stated that he was not averse to the professor making him the centre of his intended political and intellectual pursuit, provided that the former envoy would make available to him the manuscript for ‘my prior approval for purposes of accurate historical facts and analysis.’
Prof. Danso-Boafo was said to have agreed to the terms and ‘purportedly completed his draft of the book which he has entitled, ‘J.J. Rawlings and the Democratic Transition in Ghana’, released the manuscript to me,” Rawlings explained.
He said a letter acknowledging receipt of the manuscript was sent to the author on March 1, 2012 and was emphatic that ‘I handed over the transcript to a team of literary and legal experts to evaluate and recommend amendments where necessary, given the undeniable fact
that the Defendant/ Respondent’s whole academic enterprise centres primarily on my person.”
Mr. Rawlings said he was determined to review the manuscript because it contained “several inaccuracies, misinformation and slants which have the potential to poison Ghana’s historical records and democratic evolution as well as bring my name and family into disrepute.”
According to the plaintiff, it was a matter of grave concern to him that the professor did not wait for his final input and went ahead to print the book.
He therefore prayed the court to restrain Prof. Kwaku Danso-Boafo from launching the book because doing so would be detrimental “to me which cannot be compensated in monetary terms”.
BY Fidelia Achama
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