Ken Ofori-Atta adds Media General to GHC10 million Captain Smart defamation action
Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has filed a lawsuit against Media General Ghana Ltd, the operator of Onua TV and Onua FM, as well as Blessed Godsbrain Smart (aka Captain Smart), the host of “Maakye with Captain Smart” on those channels.
Ofori-Atta claims that Captain Smart made defamatory statements about him regarding a $3 billion extended credit facility approved by the International Monetary Fund for Ghana.
Ofori-Atta alleges that Media General Ghana Ltd allowed Captain Smart to defame him unjustifiably through their platform and resources.
In the amended statement of case filed on June 5, 2023, Ofori-Atta is seeking GHC10 million in damages, including aggravated and exemplary damages, for the defamation caused by Media General Ghana Ltd and Captain Smart.
According to Ofori-Atta’s lawyer, on May 22, 2023, during an episode of “Maakye with Captain Smart,” Captain Smart broadcasted and published defamatory statements about Ofori-Atta on Onua TV, Onua FM, and the internet.
The statements falsely accused Ofori-Atta of taking a 10% share of the IMF money and implied corruption, diversion of public funds, and abuse of office.
Ofori-Atta’s lawyer sent a letter on May 29, 2023, demanding an apology and retraction of the defamatory statements from Captain Smart, but the defendant failed and refused to comply.
The plaintiff, Ken Ofori-Atta, is seeking five specific requests from the court. Firstly, he wants a declaration stating that the words spoken by the defendant, which accused him of taking 10% of the IMF money, are defamatory.
Secondly, Ofori-Atta is seeking a recovery of ten million Ghana cedis (GHC10,000,000) as general damages, including aggravated and exemplary damages, for the defamation caused by the defendant.
Thirdly, Ofori-Atta is demanding an apology and retraction of the defamatory statements made by the defendant.
Fourthly, he is requesting a perpetual injunction that prevents the defendant, along with his servants, agents, or assigns, from making similar or other defamatory statements about the plaintiff.
Lastly, Ofori-Atta is asking the court to award costs against Captain Smart.
On July 1, 2022, the Ghanaian government publicly announced its decision to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to address the severe economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Since the decision was made, Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Finance, has been leading Ghana’s negotiations with the IMF.
Under Ofori-Atta’s leadership, the negotiating team successfully reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF on December 12, 2022, which was later approved by the IMF board on May 17, 2023.