NLA’s Osei-Ameyaw Threatens Legal Action Against Multimedia

Director-General of the Ghana Lottery Authority, Mr Kofi Osei-Ameyaw Director-General of the Ghana Lottery Authority, Mr Kofi Osei-Ameyaw

The Director General (DG) of the National Lottery Authority (NLA) Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, is threatening a legal action against owners of Multimedia Group, (Joy News TV), over a yet to be aired documentary, which he says is defamatory to his person.

Mr Osei Ameyaw, through his lawyers, Law Plus Attorneys-at-law, is accusing the television station of scheming to bring his name into disrupt with the said hotline documentary programme, titled "The Lottery Business".

"Our client posits further that, your malicious publication has caused considerable damage to his character and has caused him to receive unwanted calls, suspicions, denigrating comments and unnecessary exposure by other media entities and social commentators".

The documentary is to be broadcasted this September, but a teaser which is to draw attention of viewers to the piece is currently being telecast, an act Mr Osei-Ameyaw, is taking a strong exception to.

According to the law firm, aspect of the documentary contains untruth and so requests the station to "Stop airing the promo on any and all the various multimedia platforms, including the Joy News channel that contains words defamatory to our client".

They are threatening that failure to do the needful by retracting and apologizing to their client, will mean that a legal action will thereof be initiated against the Kokomlemle based media organization.

"We have our client's instructions to without further notice to you upon your failure, neglect or refusal to satisfy our client's demands fully, take out a suit against you, and hold you legally accountable for carelessly and maliciously making the said defamatory statements"

The statement addressed to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) captioned "Retract and apologize for defamatory statement made against Hon. Kofi Osei-Ameyaw", issued on Wednesday 9 September, 2020,by Dennis Adjei Dwomoh, gave the media house, 48 hours to do as ordered by the law firmsays or meet in court for litigation.

"We have the instructions of our client to give you notice, which we hereby do, to within forty-eight hours (48) upon receipt of this letter to undertake: Stop airing the promo on any and of the various multimedia platforms including the Joy News channel that contains words defamatory to our client".

Joy News channel is in the coming days slated to air a piece of documentary"The Lottery Business"an investigation of Point of Sale Terminals (POS) acquired by the National Lottery Authority from NEXCO and according to a teaser, the issue is currently under investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecute (OSP).

In the said teaser currently being aired, Joy News according to the statement, showed an extract of a letter purporting to have emanated from Mr Osei-Ameway, requesting the approval of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), to purchase the said Point of Sale Terminals (PST) through Single- Source procurement method.

It alleged that, the price of the PST was inflated by more than Ten Million US dollars (US$10million). But Mr Osei-Ameyaw, is vehemently denying this accusation leveled against him and posits that the television station was only engaging in acts that put him in a bad light.

"Our client contends that, the said statements are untrue. Consequently, it is most regrettable for your platform by way of innuendo to portray our client as corrupt, dishonorable and a morally reprehensible person with malicious intents against his beloved country".

It added "It is our view that you published the said teaser with the sole aim of bringing into disrepute, the hard-earned credential of our Client; to ridicule him in the eyes of right-thinking members of the Ghanaian society and beyond; mischievously reduce his integrity and to cause disaffection for him and his office.

Although, the documentary is yet to be broadcast, we contend that a publication of the said documentary with these statements and commentary, would further aggravate the already established damage to our client's reputation".

Though the documentary appears ready for broadcast, the NLA MD, argues that at no point was his attention drawn or was he "Informed either verbally or in writing of any purported investigation or even given an opportunity to speak on matters relating to the acquisition of POS terminals by the NLA under his stewardship".

The station is further accused of failing to exhibit good journalistic practice when it failed to sought the views of the firm's client before going ahead to air the teaser.

It is said the station was required per code of ethics of journalism, to necessarily enquire from Mr Osei-Ameyaw why the terminals cost that exorbitantly.

"In this regard you failed to make adequate enquiries and to cross-check your facts before publishing the said teaser. We further contend that in publishing the said teaser and story, you failed to verify the source of the purported information for which you made a false statement of "price inflation" by our client".

The law firm said, if Joy News was minded, they could have even taken advantage of the Right to Information Act, 2019, (ACT 989) a law it said "You championed to bring into existence, if you were minded to request for information from our client's agency" to demand for details.

With this, the statement in a four points directive asked Multimedia to "Issue an unqualified statement of retraction and an apology on your platform and social media handles to our client and give it the same prominence that you gave to the publication on the teaser and cause a written unqualified retraction and apology to be sent personally to our client".

"Delete portions of the documentary yet to be aired which is defamatory of our client and is the entire documentary borders on the issues for which our client was entitled to be given an opportunity to be heard, same should NOT be aired, discussed or published in any form on your station or your sister stations.

It also copied the Board of Directors of Multimedia Group Limited, taking into consideration the Courts of Ghana holding that the directors and officers of every media house "Bear ultimate responsibility for things done in the name of a media house and, therefore, must take more than casual interest in what is aired from their station" and the Directors, will not be allowed to parrot that they were not …paying close attention to what happens on their radio station since there is a management body in charge of its operation".