Lawyers for Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance committee, Cassiel Ato Forson have called the bluff of Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu who is demanding an apology from the legislator.
Amidu last week wrote a letter to Ato Forson demanding an apology over remarks attributed to the Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam legislator with regards to a judgement debt issue.
Amidu who claimed Ato Forson’s comment defamed him threatened to sue the legislator if he refuses to apologize.
But Ato Forson’s lawyers in a response letter signed by Godwin Kudzo Tameklo insisted that “the words uttered and published by our client, and irrespective of whatever spin is placed on the words, it is obvious our client never defamed you. In consequence, your claim that our client defamed you and therefore must render an unqualified apology to you is not borne out of the statement made by him.”
Mr. Tameklo in the letter argued that “the specific claims of malice and innuendos linked to the statement made by our client are not borne out of the words uttered and published but solely as a result of the spin that you have conveniently placed on the words.”
“Also, we wish to serve notice that our client is not only a Member of Parliament but he is the Ranking Member on [the] Finance [Committee] and that he made the aforementioned statement to the Parliamentary Press Corp as part of his role in scrutinizing government finances. Your threat to sue him for making the statement as part of his role as a Ranking Member on [the] Finance [Committee] smacks of an attempt to curtail his freedom of speech in Parliament.”
“On the basis of the above, we have advised our client against rendering the unqualified apology on the basis solely of defamation or at all,” lawyers of Ato Forson who is also Minority Spokesperson on Finance added.
After the Finance Minister revealed that the Akufo-Addo administration had paid over GHc280 million as judgment debts since it took office in 2017, Mr. Forson told journalists he had information indicating the Special Prosecutor had been paid some judgement debts.
Mr. Forson is quoted as saying: “We are hearing and on authority we are hearing that they have paid the likes of McDan, they have paid Bankswitch, they have paid even the Special Prosecutor an amount of judgment debt, as to whether they qualify to receive that amount, is something we will have to investigate.”
Mr. Amidu in a letter to Mr. Forson dated August 1, 2019, gave a seven-day ultimatum for the apology.
“Should I not hear from you within the next seven days, I will be compelled to advise myself as to the proper action to take to vindicate my hard-won reputation which you have intentionally, maliciously and gravely injured and brought into disrepute.”