My attention has been drawn to a front-page publication in your paper of Wednesday, 10th August 2004, which is full of inaccuracies and falsehood.
By its style of reporting, it appears the story was only aimed at injuring my hard won reputation and l am indeed dismayed that your reporter made no attempt to seek my side of the story.
I wish to state the facts as follows and hope that in the spirit of good journalism you would give it the same prominence as you did the original publication:
On Wednesday 4th August 2004, a houseguest at our residence discovered that her three diamond rings were missing from her room. Ms Mavis de-Graft Turkson, was the house-help in charge of that particular room and the guest.
On discovering that the diamond rings were missing, we asked her whether she had seen them and she answered in the negative.
But Adelaide, the other house-help, confirmed that she had seen Mavis with the gift bag that contained the diamond rings on her way out of the house.
As Mavis was consistently denying that she has taken the rings, we requested that a bodyguard, who was on temporary duties and my driver, conduct a search of Mavis' house. The search did not yield the rings and so the matter was reported to the Airport Police who detained Mavis overnight at the Madina Police station.
My information, confirmed by my driver, is that Mavis tried to escape from the custody of my bodyguard, which led to a scuffle, but she was not manhandled in anyway. This was on Wednesday night.
In the evening of the following day, Thursday, 5th August 2004, when l went to the station to ascertain the state of affairs, l realised that Mavis had been granted bail earlier in the day without any recourse to me, the complainant, whatsoever.
I felt slighted by this conduct of affairs and told the officer-in-charge that, the least l expected was for them to give me prior notification of her release. At least, it would have saved me from going over to the station. I did not shout or threaten anybody, as your story maliciously stated, because there was no need to.
I left the station and the following day, Friday, 6th August 2004; l proceeded to Effiduase and Ejisu and returned to Accra only on Monday, 9th August 2004.
Over the weekend, neither my bodyguard nor myself were in Accra and therefore my bodyguard could not have beaten the girl on the Saturday as it was alleged in your report. This is clear and simple.
Information from the police is that based on the evidence of Adelaide, that she saw Mavis with the gift bag of the diamond rings, the police invited Mavis and her parents and a friend of Mavis back to the station for further interrogation.
The friend upon questioning produced two black plastic bags, which Mavis had left with her for safekeeping.
When the police begun to search the bag, Mavis started complaining of not feeling well and dropped to the floor. It is important to note that this was Saturday, 7th August 2004, when both my bodyguard and myself were nowhere near Accra.
The police found the rings in the bag that Mavis had left with her friend and which the friend had produced at the police station.
It is note worthy that your reporter did not mention that the rings had been found with Mavis in her story. I find such selective reporting in bad taste, unprofessional and only calculated to damage my reputation.
I also note with great disappointment that your paper carried an editorial on the matter without recourse to the facts and the truth. This indeed, is most unfortunate and unacceptable and defies the basic principles and tenets of enlightened journalism.
I demand a retraction and an apology of the story within the shortest possible time and not later than the 25th of August 2004. Failure to do this will leave me with no option than recourse to the law.
HACKMAN OWUSU-AGYEMANG (MP) MINISTER
THE EDITOR THE LENS