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General News Fri, 2 Dec 2016

Feature: Braa Timoo writes: Mahama and brother can sue Naabu for defamation if…

Ghana and the rest of the world were shocked with the shocking revelation from the opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) ‘no nonsense’ Northern Regional Chairman, Daniel Bugri Naabu of an alleged bribery from President John Mahama and his brother, Ibrahim Mahama.

Everyone who heard the news was amazed about the revelations and I believe the President who was then touring the Central Region was himself amazed. I suspect the issue hit the President to the extent that he could not deliver his commissioning speech of the first phase of the newly constructed Kasoa interchange on Tuesday night.

His speech was therefore delivered by the Minister of Roads and Highway, Inusah Fuseni with an excuse that the President had lost his voice.

Yes, that can be true. Whoever that has monitored the President on TV and radio will bear with him that tiredness is written all over him.

His voice and facial outlook have changed due to the unrelenting and crisscrossing of the country to campaign to ensure that he retains power in next week’s elections.

No matter what it is, I am here to just talk about the import of the allegation from the opposition NPP and its implications on President and his brother and Bugri Naabu if found to be true or untrue.

Before I proceed, permit me to re-produce excerpt of the press conference held by the NPP to make those allegations just for the benefit of those who might have not read the full statement dubbed, ‘YOU CAN’T BUY US’.

After a lengthy narration at the press conference of alleged meetings involving President Mahama and his brother, Ibrahim Mahama, Majid Bawa, John Kwaku Alhassan (JK) and Bugri Naabu, who contested in the NPP parliamentary primaries in the Yunyoo constituency and one Awal, the Spokesperson for the NPP’s flagbearer, Mustapha Hamid reached the ‘peak’ of their allegations. “Now, I am sure you want to know what they offered Bugri.

As the President was talking, Ibrahim got up to signal and a man walked into the room with a bag behind his back.

He dropped it in front of Bugri and left. Ibrahim opened it and it was full of Fifty Ghana Cedis notes. Bugri asked what that was about. Ibrahim said there was GH¢500,000 in it. The deal was that they were prepared to give him more.

“Bugri said to them that, he was surprised. Why now? The government had sat on Bugri’s money as a contractor for years. Bugri was still owed GH¢247,000 for a feeder road contract and the certificate had been ready since 2013, when he was not even Regional Chairman but they refused to pay because he is NPP. This was the full details of the deal they offered Bugri that night:

(1) Brand new V8 Toyota Land Cruiser

(2) Brand new V6 Mitsubishi Pajero

(3) Brand new Nissan Pick-up

(4) GH¢3.3 million, including the contract sum owed to Bugri and minus the GH¢500,000.

(5) Plus a new road contract Ibrahim said they were prepared to give Bugri a road contract worth GH¢190 million.”

Folks, I am not here to talk about whether the allegations were true or untrue but like I said, just to share my thoughts on the issue.

The presidency is the highest office of the land and as such whoever is talking about it should be circumspect in order not to tarnish the image of the nation.

I for instance talk about the presidency [irrespective of whichever party is in government] with decorum because I believe in Ghana first, so to make such allegations against the first gentleman of the land is serious and if it’s found to be untrue, the person can face a dire consequence.

Whatever the situation might be, what the NPP man is alleging constitutes what in legal terms is referred to as “DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER”.

“Defamation” is a catch-all term for any statement that hurts someone’s reputation. Written defamation is called “libel” and spoken defamation is called “slander”.

Defamation is not a crime, but it is a “tort” (a civil wrong, rather than a criminal wrong) and it can have serious implications on the one making those allegations.

So, in the above allegations against the President and his brother, I am of the view that the President and his brother should not come through press conference or any media release if they have a strong conviction that Mr. Bugri Naabu is just defaming/tarnishing their image.

The only thing they have to do to clear their hard earn reputation as the President of Ghana and also as a businessman of international standard is to go to court and cite him for DEFAMATION of CHARACTER.

But if the President and his brother fail to take the NPP man on, the entire world will take it that what the NPP man is alleging is true and that will be ‘asem sebe’.

Source: Kweku Antwi-Otoo
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