THE interdicted director of the Ghana School of Law, Kwaku Ansa-Asare, has withdrawn his suit questioning the jurisdiction of the Akamba Committee investigating his tenure as head of the School.
However, before returning to cooperate with Committee that has promised him a fair hearing, Mr Ansa-Asare has filed a defamatory suit at the High Court against John Yaw Opoku, a legal practitioner and also a former Deputy Registrar of the school, in respect of an article published on the front page of the September 14, 2005 edition of The Chronicle.
Others also sued are General Portfolio Limited, publishers of The Chronicle, the Acting Editor of the newspaper, Kojo Omaboe, and a Reporter, George Kyei Frimpong. The rest are Multimedia Broadcasting Company Limited, owner and operator of Joy FM, and Despite Company Limited, owner and operator of Peace FM, both private radio stations in Accra.
The statement of claim issued in Accra by Ansa-Asare and Company with 33 points is asking the court for an order of retraction and apology with the same prominence by all the defendants on the same page of the paper and on their radio stations which are all featured on the internet and also general damages.
Mr Ansa-Asare said the story on the front page of The Chronicle under the headline “Statesman Editor failed but was cleared on orders,” and written by Mr Frimpong, which displayed the photograph of Asare Otchere-Darko, a former student of the Ghana School of Law and now a lawyer by profession, is a malicious libel against him and the Editor- In-Chief.
The article was based on Mr Opoku's September 13, 2005 testimony before the Committee of Inquiry appointed by the General Legal Council to investigate the conflict of interest and wrong doing by Mr Ansa-Asare.
The interdicted Director said per the publication by The Chronicle and the subsequent broadcast by both Joy FM and Peace FM, the former Deputy Registrar falsely and maliciously asserted that Mr Otchere-Darko failed the final examination of the professional law course Part II of the Ghana School of Law. He said that notwithstanding, Mr Otchere-Darko unlawfully and dishonestly procured a pass.
The statement of claim added that when Mr Otchere-Darko failed in two subjects namely Family Law and the Law of Taxation, he petitioned the General Legal Council through Mr Ansa-Asare for a review of the two papers which had been graded 'F' by the lecturer, Dr Kofi Oti Adinkrah, who set the questions and marked the script.
Mr Ansa-Asare said as a result of the petition for a review, the General Legal Council directed that Mr Otchere-Darko's script in Family Law be re-assessed, which re-assessment was carried out by a Professor of Law who awarded a grade of B+.
The interdicted Director said Mr Otchere-Darko sat and passed the referred paper in the Law of Taxation in the supplementary examination held in December 2003 which qualified him to be enrolled as a Lawyer in February 2004.
He described the statement of Mr Opoku as false and malicious and a direct attack on the integrity of members of the General Legal Council.
Mr Ansa-Asare noted that the defamatory statement of Mr Opoku was and is intended to convey to the general public that, Mr Otchere-Darko is not an honest person and has been fraudulently placed on the Roll of lawyers in Ghana through his (Mr Ansa-Asare) contrivance.
The statement of claim also said that The Chronicle published an article under the headline “BOMBSHELL revelations at Ansa-Asare probe- ¢3.8 BN HIPC CASH PAID FOR BOOKS NOT SUPPLIED.”
He said the story alleged that the sum of ¢ 3.8 billion in cash “was carted in large bags – Ghana must go – “with Law School Security Personnel carrying the cash to the Director's Office.”
Mr Ansa-Asare said the allegation that ¢3.8 billion in cash was carried to his office is false and malicious because, at no time was ¢3.8 billion either carted to his office or did he withdraw or cause to be withdrawn or was authorised by anyone to withdraw the sum from any bank in Ghana.
He said the publication had ridiculed him and also portrayed him as a thief who had stolen ¢3.8 billion in cash intended for the payment of books to be procured for the Ghana School of Law.