Politics of Saturday, 22 March 2014
The Chief of Staff to the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Bryan Acheampong, has denied fabricating stories about his boss’s opponent, Mr Paul Afoko, who is contesting in the party’s national chairmanship.
Mr Afoko is contesting the current National Chairman, Mr Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, but some people petitioned the national Vetting Committee of the NPP to disqualify him.
The Daily Graphic on February 28, 2014, had published, among others, Mr Acheampong’s involvement in the scheme to disqualify Mr Afoko.
The paper had stated that some unknown petitioners had fabricated stories to the National Vetting Committee about Mr Afoko.
Solicitors for Mr Acheampong, Gaisie Zwennes Hughes and Co. have, however, in a statement described the allegation as false and calculated to tarnish the reputation of their client.
“Mr Acheampong did not author any such petition and it is even more ridiculous to suggest that he sneaked the offending material at the last minute to a credible body such as the Vetting Committee of the NPP which he is not a member of or whose sittings he has never attended,” the solicitors stated.
The article, among others, had stated “...Media reports have also pointed accusing fingers at one Bryan who sneaked the petition at the last minute into the room where the Vetting Committee was having its meeting claiming Mr Afoko did not qualify to run as party chair. Since then, media reports have it that the said Bryan had apologised to Mr Afoko that the petition was unfounded...” According to the solicitors, “even though the reporter omitted rather mischievously to either mention the full name of the said Bryan or disclose the source of the so called media reports, the clear intent of that aspect of the article and what it was meant to portray could not be lost on any casual reader or observer, particularly followers of the NPP as far as the ongoing campaign is concerned”.
Report fingers Bryan Acheampong
The solicitors indicated that even though the story failed to mention the full name, it was obvious that the reporter was referring to Mr Bryan Acheampong, who worked for Mr Obetsebi Lamptey.
“Any reasonable person would without any hestitation, whatsoever conclude that the said Bryan who ochestrated this alleged despicable act to torpedo Mr Afoko’s ambitions is none other than this very same Bryan Acheampong, who works in Mr Obetsebi Lamptey’s office and whose boss coincidentally Mr Afoko is contesting,” the solicitors further stated.
“The article falsely and maliciously portrayed our client as a dishonourable character who would go to any length to fabricate untruths and damaging information about a fellow party member. It was clearly calculated to disparage him in the office he currently holds and to tarnish his reputation”.
No justification for allegation
The solicitors stressed that there was no justification for attributing the dishonourable act to their client, especially when the reporter did not contact or find out from Mr Acheampong the truth or otherwise of the allegations.
According to the solicitors, Mr Acheampong had never seen, spoken to or contacted either directly or indirectly Mr Afoko throughout the period he worked at the NPP headquarters.
“It is, therefore, the height of falsehood for anyone to state categorically as has been done in the instant case, that Bryan has subsequently apologised to Mr Afoko that the petition was unfounded”.
The publication, according to the solicitors, had seriously damaged the reputation of their client, and lowered his esteem in the eyes of all fair minded Ghanaians, as the story was also circulated online, which had a wide readership, locally and internationally.