The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has sued General Media Strategies Inc, the publisher of Africawatch Magazine for defamation.
Mr Steve Mallory, the Editor of the magazine had published an article about the purchase of a foreign mission in Oslo, Norway in which he alleged that the minister conspired with others to steal from Ghana.
The article, published in June 2019, was captioned, ‘Ghana Exclusive: the Inside Story of the Oslo Scandal Conspiracy to Steal, Ayorkor Botchwey’s lies exposed, Nana Akufo Addo’s defence falls flat.’
The story claimed that Steve Mallory travelled to the Norwegian capital Oslo to investigate the abortive attempt by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to buy two properties for Ghana’s newly opened embassy at a whopping $16.5 million.
Displeased by the article, the plaintiff, in a writ filed by her counsel, Gary Nimako Mafo said the publication was defamatory as the author had failed to establish evidence of criminality against her.
She said the defamatory magazine publication authored by Mr Mallory had generated several comments and media attention in Ghana and abroad ostensibly intended to tarnish her image.
It is the case of plaintiff that a reading of the entire article does not show how “I have conspired to steal from the state amount to imputation of crime and same is defamatory.”
The lawmaker said she had never been convicted for any crime in Ghana or elsewhere in her entire political career and that the article seeks to soil her hard won reputation in the eyes of right thinking members of the society.
She contended that the entire article was full with factual inaccuracies and clearly portrays the malicious intent of the defendant.
Meanwhile, the court had granted an ex-parte application for the defendant to be served with the writ in the United States of America.
Per the order of the court, the defendants are expected to file their response within 14 days.
The issue of government’s decision to purchase two properties in Oslo, Norway- one for the Chancery and the other for the ambassador’s residence came to the front burner few months ago.
It is recalled that the issue generated heated debate both in Parliament and in the media space, resulting in a near confrontation between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament.