President Akufo-Addo has asked Al Jazeera Media Network to retract immediately and apologise for airing an inaccurate and unfair documentary that contained unsubstantiated allegations against the Government of Ghana.
This is contained in a statement signed by Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante. The documentary –Gold Mafia – claims the President acted as a Lawyer for one Alistair Mathias and implied that he personally benefitted unlawfully from an alleged 100million dollar state infrastructure contract purportedly awarded to Mr. Mathias.
The President’s Legal Counsel, Kow Abaka Essuman, informed Al Jazeera that the President had not been in Private Practice since the year 2000.
The statement said the President had no recollection of acting as a lawyer, either personally or through his law firm, Messrs. Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co, for Mr. Mathias or his Company, Guldrest Resources.
It said further and better particulars were demanded from Al Jazeera to respond adequately to the allegations by the media organisation.
The statement said Al Jazeera refused or failed to provide the details as requested and went ahead with the broadcast of the documentary.
Below is a copy of the letter from the President’s Office
REQUEST FOR RETRACTION AND APOLOGY FOR INACCURATE AND UNFAIR DOCUMENTARY ON THE PRESIDENT AND GOVERNMENT OF GHANA
I am instructed by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to demand formally that Al Jazeera Media Network (“Al Jazeera”) retract immediately and apologise for airing an inaccurate and unfair documentary that contained spurious and unsubstantiated allegations against the President and the Government of Ghana.
The documentary in question made baseless claims that the President acted as a lawyer for one Mr. Alistair Mathias and implied that the President personally benefitted unlawfully from an alleged $100m state infrastructure contract purportedly awarded to Mr. Mathias. In his letter dated 11th April, 2023, responding to Al Jazeera’s letter of 2nd April, 2023, which was received on April, 2023, containing these vague and defamatory allegations, the Legal Counsel to the President, Mr. Kow Abaka Essuman, acting on the instructions of the President, informed Al Jazeera 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.
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 thus requested to provide information on the period for which the President allegedly provided legal representation to Mr. Alistair Mathias or his company, Guldrest Resources. Furthermore, Al Jazeera was requested to provide details of the “USD 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 benefited unlawfully from the alleged “USD 100 million tender for state infrastructure.”
Al Jazeera refused or failed to provide these details as requested and went ahead with the broadcast of the documentary. At the end of the documentary, a terse text was shown, contradicting the content of the documentary. Additionally, the subject of the documentary, Mr. Alistair Mathias, denied what he said in the documentary to Al Jazeera’s investigative journalist. In light of these blatant denials by Mr. Alistair Mathias and the response from Mr. Essuman, those parts of the documentary ought not to have been included because those statements were not true.
Accordingly, those parts of the documentary are malicious, defamatory, and a calculated attempt to tarnish the reputation of the President and Government of Ghana. It is therefore demanded that Al Jazeera withdraws the documentary immediately, retracts and apologises to the President and the Government of Ghana for airing such an unprofessional and defamatory documentary.
It is imperative that you act forthwith on this request within seven (7) days from the date of receipt of this letter.
Please confirm receipt of this letter and your intention to take the necessary action as requested.
Nana Bediatuo Asante
Secretary to the President