Ghana demands apology, retraction of Al Jazeera’s defamatory documentary

The Government of Ghana has directed the Qatari-based international news network, Al Jazeera, to retract and apologise for airing a spurious documentary on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

'The documentary in question made baseless claims that the President acted as a lawyer for one Alistair Mathias, and implied that the President personally benefitted unlawfully from an alleged US$100 million state infrastructure contract purportedly awarded to Mr. Mathias,' a letter written on April 25by the Office of the President, and signed by Nana Bedietuo Asante, Secretary to the President, said.

'It is imperative that you act forthwith on this request within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter.'

It said the international news network acted unprofessionally, and described the aspect of the documentary citing Ghana's President as 'malicious, defamatory, and a calculated attempt to tarnish his reputation as well as the Government's' .

Giving a highlight of the issue, the letter referred to aletter dated April 11, 2023, responding to Al Jazeera's letter of April 02, which was received on April 06, containing what it called, 'these vague and defamatory allegations'.

It explained that the legal counsel to the President informed the news network that the President had not been in private practice since the year 2000.

'And that, the President had no recollection of acting as a lawyer, either personally or through his law firm, Messrs. Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co, for a Mr. Alistair Mathias or his company, Guldrest Resources.'

The letter said, in those circumstances, further and better particulars were demanded from Al Jazeera to respond adequately to the allegations made in Al Jazeera's letter.

'Al Jazeera was requested to provide details of the US$100 million tender for state infrastructure allegedly given to Mr. Mathias, which he outsourced and kept a percentage in offshore accounts, as stated in the letter as well as information on how the President personally benefitted unlawfully from it.

'Al Jazeera refused or failed to provide these details as requested and went ahead with the broadcast of the documentary,' the letter noted.

It pointed out that at the end of the said documentary, a terse text was shown, contradicting the content of the documentary.

Additionally, the subject of the documentary, Mr. Mathias, denied what he said in the documentary to Aljazeera's investigative journalist.

'In light of these blatant denials by Mr. Mathias and the response from Kow Abaka Essuman, legal counsel to the President, those parts of the documentary ought not to have been included because those statements were not true,' the letteremphasised.

Source: Ghana News Agency