Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, Director General, National Lottery Authority (NLA), has filed a GHC10-million defamatory suit at an Accra High Court against Multi Media Group, following an expose' dubbed "The Lottery Business".
The expose' or documentary telecasted on JOY News Channels, alleged that the NLA Boss, Osei-Ameyaw in a letter requested the approval of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to purchase 30,000 pieces of Point of Sale (POS) Terminal via a single source procurement method.
The documentary, also seeks to indicate that the NLA Director General, who is a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Asuogyaman Constituency, inflated the prices of the POS Terminal by more than $10 million.
These, the NLA Director General, has vehemently denied, noting that, "the defamatory statements of the defendant in the documentary were "palpable lies and same were made without justification."
The former MP in his statement of claim filed by his lawyer, Dennis Agyei Dwommoh, noted that Multi Media Group, failed to contact him to get his side of the story before publication.
According to the NLA Boss, the defendant's action of not contacting him before the publication, constituted a breach of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) code of ethics.
"The Plaintiff is therefore before the General Jurisdiction (a High Court Division) seeking a declaration that Multi Media Group's documentary on him as the NLA Boss, has "a right to be heard" in relation to the Ghana Journalists Association of which the defendant Journalists are members".
He is seeking perpetual injunction against the defendant, its agents, assigns and servants from further publishing, debating or discussing any defamatory words against him.
The Plaintiff is further seeking GHC10-million for defamation and an "exemplary damages for defamation."
He is further seeking the orders of the court directed at defendant to publish on three occasions on its platform it published the defamatory words as well as render an apology and retraction with the same prominence it gave the said documentary.
Plaintiff contended that the said documentary has not only damaged his character and reputation, but has subjected him to public ridicule in the eyes of right thinking people including his family, friends and relations.
The NLA Boss, said on September 7, this year his attention was drawn to a promotional advert teaser showing on JOY News Channels dubbed "the Lottery Business," which was aired from September 1 to 9, 2020.
Plaintiff said the investigative piece was on the purchase of POS procured and acquired by NLA from NEXGO.
The NLA Boss, further denied that the Authority had purchased 30,000 POS machines.
According to him, although the PPA had approved the purchase of the 30,000 POS machines, due to the financial strength of the Authority, only 5,000, had been bought.
The NLA Boss, averred that at all material time, he was not either informed verbally or written to, so he could speak on matters raised in the acquisition of the POS.
In the said documentary, Plaintiff said the defendant contended that he had engaged in an illegal act, but he failed and refused to make adequate enquiries and cross-check from him before publishing the teaser.
According to the Plaintiff, the said teaser was disseminated widely on the internet, radio and defendant Television and news channels.
Plaintiff further averred that, prior to the showing of the teaser, his lawyer asked the defendant to retract and apologize but the defendant "failed, neglected and refused to do the needful".
In his view, Plaintiff said the innuendos in the commentary being run by the defendant sought to suggest that he had criminally inflated the prices of the POS.
That by inflating the prices, Plaintiff said the defendant also sought to portray that he had defrauded and caused financial loss to the state.
Additionally, the innuendos further suggested that he lacked honesty.
Earlier in a statement, the management of the NLA said it is "very disappointed at the unprofessional and unethical conduct of Joy News/Joy FM and Multimedia Group Limited over unfair, untrue and biased reports on the Procurement of NEXGO Android Point of Sale Terminals by the Authority".
The NLA was reacting to a documentary that the Multimedia Group through one of its platforms had done on the inflation of a contract sum by over 10 million dollars, and had intended to show last Wednesday but the network strangely got jammed.
The NLA statement said "First and foremost, the whole content of the documentary is baseless and without any iota of truth", adding "it is never true that the cost of the Android Point of Sale Terminals were inflated by the Director-General of the National Lottery Authority as alleged by the Joy News/Joy FM/Multimedia Group Limited".
The statement said "It is also never true that the National Lottery Authority has procured 30, 000 Android Point of Sale Terminals.
It explained that "the Public Procurement Authority gave approval to the Authority to procure 30,000 Point of Sale Terminals but according to the financial strength of the Authority only 5,000 out of the 30,000 Point of Sale Terminals have been purchased".
"The cost and negotiations for the award of contract to the Manufacturer Shenzhen Xinguodu Technology Limited was approved by the Public Procurement Authority. The Public Procurement Authority directed the NLA to negotiate for a 5% discount on the contract sum prior to the award of the contract to Shenzhen Xinguodu Technology Limited. However, due to the inability of the local partner of Shenzhen Xinguodu Technology Limited to offer the 5% discount as requested by Public Procurement Authority, the PPA therefore directed the National Lottery Authority to go for a 3% reduction instead", the statement issued by Public Relations Unit of NLA said.
"The Public Procurement Authority tasked the manufacturer, Shenzhen Xinguodu Technology Limited and its local partner to deliver the POSTs to the NLA through *DELIVERY DUTY PAID (DDP)*. If Joy News/Joy FM/Multimedia Group Limited understands what DDP is with the greatest of respect, they would not have come up with this bogus documentary of Cost Inflation. However their ignorance cannot be forgiven".
The NLA insisted "again, the Android Point of Sale Terminals are not just ordinary POST Machines. The Android Point of Sale Terminals have special technological features aimed at supporting NLA to offer VALUE ADDED SERVICES unlike the usual Analogue POSTs Machines which lack the capacity to perform the functions of Value Added Services".
"Therefore, it is very naive and ignorant for Joy News/Joy FM/Multimedia Group Limited to conclude that the Authority has procured 30,000 Android Point of Sale Terminals at an inflated cost of over $10 million dollars", it said, adding "it is instructive to state that, Hon. Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, the Director-General of the NLA has sued Multimedia Group Limited in this particular subject matter and the case is still pending at the Court".
It questioned that "if not for purposes of propaganda and mischief, Joy News/Joy FM/Multimedia Group Limited has every right under the law to submit their evidence to the Court for final determination of the case but no, they chose to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians and the general public".
The NLA revealed that "Martin Amidu, the former Special Prosecutor was investigating this particular case but failed woefully to conclude the investigation before his unfortunate resignation".
"The National Lottery Authority (NLA) SHALL officially sue Joy News/Joy FM/Multimedia Group Limited in the coming days over this baseless and unsubstantiated allegations. The Director-General, Hon. Kofi Osei-Ameyaw SHALL also cite Joy News/Joy FM/Multimedia Group Limited for Contempt in the coming days".
The statement asked that "we would like to entreat Ghanaians and the general public to totally and wholly ignore the bogus documentary of Joy News/Joy FM/Multimedia Group Limited since the matter is before the competent Court of Jurisdiction for a determination".