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Amidu points out flaws in President’s letter regarding alleged friendship between Akufo-Addo and Alistair, says Al Jazeera never made such claim

Martin Amidu, the former Special Prosecutor of Ghana, has criticized the Office of the President’s response to an Al Jazeera documentary that named President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as a friend of a gold smuggler. In a letter dated April 25, 2023, the executive secretary to the president, Nana Bediatuo Asante, demanded an apology from Al Jazeera, claiming that the documentary’s contents were misleading. Amidu found fault with the letter, stating that it showed the government was “shooting themselves in the foot.”

Amidu argued that the president’s office was misdirected in demanding an apology from Al Jazeera since the media outlet was not responsible for the defamatory statements made against the president. He also expressed disbelief that the letter did not categorically deny the president’s relationship with the Canadian smuggler, Alistair Mathias, who was a main character in the documentary titled “Gold Mafia.”

Amidu stated, “I am yet to read a categorical denial that the President is not a good friend of Alistair Mathias or that he does not know Mr. Mathias and has never met him.” He criticized Paul Adom-Otchere’s propaganda on Metro TV’s “Good Evening Ghana” program as pernicious and questioned the friendship between the president and Mathias.

Amidu noted that Al Jazeera never claimed that President Akufo-Addo was a good friend of Alistair Mathias. He argued that the defamatory statements made against African presidents were made by members of the Gold Mafia and their operatives who bear prime responsibility for those alleged defamatory statements. Amidu further questioned why the president was not directing his threats to Alistair Mathias instead of Al Jazeera.

Amidu found it worrying that President Akufo-Addo questioned the principles used in the documentary when he had previously approved of the “Anas Principle.” He argued that the government’s attempt to escape an investigation for suspected corruption arising from Alistair Mathias’s confessions in the Al Jazeera Gold Mafia documentary through the side door of a purported threat of an action for defamation was arbitrary, lacked candor, and constituted a blatant abuse of the powers of government under the Constitution.

Amidu urged patriotic Ghanaians, across political party divides, to defend the 1992 Constitution by making their voices heard. He emphasized that what is good for the goose is good for the gander and that President Akufo-Addo must submit his government to an anti-corruption investigation

first.

On Thursday, April 27, 2023, priningonline reported that the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has demanded an immediate retraction and apology from Al Jazeera Media Network over one of its recent documentaries that named him as having been involved, in a way or another, in some illegal activities.

The documentary, Gold Mafia, which was serialised in four different episodes, had one of the main characters in it, Alistair Mathias, mention in one of them that the president of Ghana was his lawyer.

Alistair had also claimed that he had very close relations with the president, plus other African Heads of State, but this is something the presidency has denied.

In this latest letter, penned under the name of the Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, the contents of the documentary that mention Akufo-Addo are baseless and defamatory.

“I am instructed by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to deman formally that Al Jazeera Media Network (“Al Jazeera”) retract immediately and apologise for airing an inaccurate and unfair documentary that contained spurious and unsubstantiated allegations against the President and the Government of Ghana.

“The documentary in question made baseless claims that the President acted as lawyer for one Mr. Alistair Mathias and implied that the President personally benefitted unlawfully from an alleged $100m state infrastructure contract purportedly awarded to Mr. Mathias.

“In his letter dated 11th April, 2023, responding to AL Jazeera’s letter of 2nd April, 2023, which was received on 6th April, 2023, containing these vague and defamatory allegations, the Legal Counsel to the President, Mr. Kow Abaka Essuman, acting on the instructions of the President, informed Al Jazeera that the President had not been in private practice since the year 2000 and that the President had no recollection of acting as a lawyer, either personally or through his law firm, Messrs. Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co, for a Mr. Alistair Mathias or his company, Guldrest Resources,” the statement said.

The letter further demanded that Al Jazeera acts within the next seven days after it receives the letter.

“It is impetrative to that you act act forthwith on this request within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter.

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