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04.03.2005 General News

Minister threatens to sue newspaper

By Chronicle
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Captain Nkrabeah Effah Darteh (rtd), deputy minister-designate for the Interior Ministry has made clear his intention to file a legal suit against TheChronicle and one of its reporters, Joseph Coomson. He indicated that he had, in consultation with his legal luminaries, filed a writ of summons against the Chronicle and Joseph Coomson the said reporter, for a story carried by the paper in its 2nd March, 2004 edition under the headline “Embassy busts minister, Effah Darteh's visa racket blown open” in which he is reported to have used his position to indulge in visa racketeering.

According to him, the story seeks to bring his credibility to question since its contents were defamatory in nature and untrue.

He asserted that at no point in time in his life had he ever engaged himself in any visa racketeering business, either in his private life or as a minister of state from whom much decorum and decency is expected, as the paper sought to portray.

“I have never engaged my services in any such visa racket business,” he stressed.

Effah Darteh who is obviously peeved by the story as it appeared just a day before the appointments committee of parliament was to vet him said he believed perfectly in his innocence and would therefore do whatever it took to redeem his image, which he said had been dented by the said publication.

Asked by the chairman of the committee, Fredie Blay whether the story, as reported by the paper contained some level of truth since the paper might not, out of sheer malice publish an article to unmake him, he dismissed the story as containing not an iota of truth.

The Deputy Minister-designate, who is the MP for Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region, seems to have had a quite relaxed and field day in the absence of the minority leader, Alban Bagbin and Benjamin Kumbour, also a member of the committee who are noted for asking punchy and loaded questions which probably put nominees on the waiting list shivering to their spines even before they appear before the committee.

Effah Dartey had his way through with questions ranging from his days in the military under the PNDC era, prior to his imprisonment which led abruptly to his honorable discharge from the army.

He dismissed the notion being held by some members of the public that sought to create the impression that he was arrested and charged for attempting to stage a coup to oust the then PNDC regime under the leadership of its chairman Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings in 1983.

“I was charged for mutiny, prejudicial amongst other two charges I probably did not commit and not the charge of attempting to overthrow a government as some people think,” he noted.

According to him, when given the nod with his current appointment, he would, strictly in consultation with the substantive minister, instill the greatest sense of discipline and professionalism into all institutions that fall directly under the Ministry of Interior, with special reference to the police service which has in recent times been subjected to various forms of criticism for some of its men arbitrarily extorting monies from drivers in the form of bribe.

He therefore indicated that, should he be considered for appointment in that capacity, he would work closely with the minister to, as a matter of urgency, institute some reforms into the security agencies to give it a new image.

He however added his voice to the numerous efforts of police in the wake of a spate of armed robbery which has in recent times become rife in especially the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions respectively.

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