Sad SADA story: SADA lawyers demand retraction, apology
Lawyers for the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority are demanding a retraction of, and apology for, the serialised story of alleged financial malfeasance in the operations of SADA.
According to the solicitors, Beyuo & Co, the serialised reports titled “The Sad SADA Story” were culled from an inconclusive audited report but the stories sought to impute wrongdoing to the management of SADA.
“To the extent that your station relied on the management letter to impute wrongdoing to our client, we demand that you retract and apologise for the false and malicious statements made against our client,” the letter read in part.
Read below the full unedited letter from the lawyers of SADA.
17 April 2014
“The Sad SADA Story”
We write as solicitors of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (“SADA”) in connection with the above titled series currently running on your station Joy99.7 FM and on the station's internet portal “Myoyonline.com”.
On 7 April 2014 you caused to be published on your station Joy99.7 and its internet portal a story by Manasseh Azure entitled “SADA invests GH¢74.5m in Board Chairman's bank but…”. Subsequent stories have appeared on your station and its internet portal namely, on 8 April 2014, “SADA cited for alleged malfeasance in unapproved trips”, 9 April 2014, “SADA rot: Huge sums of money paid to consultants monthly” and on 10 April 2014, “SADA officials asked to refund GH¢830,000”.
In the publication made on 7 April 2014, it was alleged by your station that “months of investigations into the operations of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority by Joy News have uncovered alleged financial malfeasance of various degrees.” This statement meant that independent investigations by Joy News have uncovered financial wrongdoing by our client.
In the series that your station has carried on this story you have made categorical statements of financial wrongdoing against our client and its officers.
Our client has noticed that contrary to the claims by your station that it has investigated our client and uncovered financial wrongdoing, your station is rather serializing portions of a letter dated 25 February 2014 from the Auditor General to the Chief Executive of SADA entitled “Management Letter on Audit of the Accounts of Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Tamale for the period January 2011 to December 2013.”
We wish to bring to your attention the fact that the letter which you have quoted extensively on your network was written pursuant to section 29 of the Audit Service Act, 2000, (Act 584) which stipulates that the Auditor-General shall, as a result of an audit, issue observations to the Controller and Accountant-General or the management of the audited organisation and the comments made by the management shall be returned to the Auditor-General within thirty days after the receipt of the observation.
That the Management letter is not a conclusive finding by the Auditor General of wrongdoing on the part of our client is borne out by the fact that in the self-same letter the Auditor General has requested for our client's comments on its observations made in the Management letter. Secondly, the Auditor General in its limitation of liability statement in the said letter stated specifically that it “prepared this management letter for [SADA's] use within [its] organisation. We could not accept any responsibility for any reliance the third party might place on it.”
To the extent that your station relied on the management letter to impute wrongdoing to our client, we demand that you retract and apologise for the false and malicious statements made against our client.
Beyuo & Co