THE Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni has filed a formal complaint at the National Media Commission (NMC) against The Chronicle, its Publishers as well as two of its reporters for allegedly publishing libelous statements about him.
The publication was in respect of the Auditor General's report, which held Alhaji Mumuni for certain impropriety, when he was the Minister of Employment and Social Welfare under the Rawlings Regime, and which became the centre of controversy during his vetting for the position of Minister for foreign Affairs.
The Foreign Affairs Minister is peeved about a publication in The Chronicle dated February 18, 2009, and captioned: “Mills' Minister' Damaged Goods – Forensic report commissioned by Auditor General damns Mumuni”, which he noted had impugned on his reputation.
The complainant is invoking the powers of the NMC in settling disputes involving the media to mediate and find redress to the current impasse, as he is demanding an unconditional and total retraction of the offending words made against him. Additionally, Alhaji Mumuni is demanding that The Chronicle unreservedly issue an apology to him, which should be published in three consecutive issues of the paper and in each case, given the same prominence as the offending publication.
The Minister is further demanding that The Chronicle makes an undertaking not to repeat or further publish the assertions or words made in the publication complained of.
The Minister has accused the paper of making “several scurrilous and extremely libelous assertions” following the said publication of the Auditor General's report, purportedly obtained from the House of Parliament.
Alhaji Mumuni held that the said publication of The Chronicle has attributed guilt of serious financial malfeasance bordering on criminality to him and others, adding that the said publication was re-published or broadcast on the airwaves by leading radio stations such as Adom FM, Joy FM and Peace FM among others, which has wide circulation. It was his view that The Chronicle was liable to the re-publication made by said radio stations, since their actions resulted from the said original publication of the newspaper.
According to Alhaji Mumuni, the said Chronicle publication attributed to him is false, stressing that the publication was intended to lower his reputation in the estimation of the public and society in general.
He contended that the allegations published by The Chronicle formed part of a “dodgy and spurious document masquerading as the Auditor-General's report”, which had never been brought to the attention or debated in Parliament, or its Public Accounts Committee in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
Alhaji Mumuni noted that the said Auditor-General's report surfaced in the public domain in the year 2004, when speculations were rife that he was about to be named the running-mate to Prof. John Evans Atta Mills in the then up-coming 2004 presidential elections.
Explaining further, the Foreign affairs Minister intimated that he subsequently held a press conference to entirely debunk the assertions as a fabrication cruelly schemed by his political opponents to vilify him in his political career.
The said actions of his political opponents, the Minister indicated, failed as he was subsequently named the running-mate to Prof. Mills for the 2004 elections.
The complainant was of the view that a suit he issued at the High Court against the Editor, Reporter and Publishers of the Daily Guide newspaper as well as Baffour Awuah and Associates, alleged auditors of the said report was at all times in the knowledge of The Chronicle.
The Minister intimated that The Chronicle deliberately and falsely misrepresented the status of the purported audit report to the public as credible and authentic under the laws of the country, when it claimed in its publication that the audit report was obtained from Parliament.
Alhaji Mumuni further denied being a subject of a forensic audit inspection by the Auditor General, emphasizing that “no audit report concerning him has ever been published in Parliament.”