A Private legal practitioner Mr Kwame Jantuah has said that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should have written to Al Jazeera Network and Mr Alistair Mathias simultaneously to retract and apologize for the documentary in which it was stated that he, Mr Akufo-Addo, acted as a lawyer for Mathias, a Canadian Gold smuggler and money launderer, and also benefited from an alleged $100million infrastructure contract awarded to Mathias.
Mr Jantuah said on the Big Issue on TV3 Friday, May 5 with host Roland Walker that it was Mathias who made the claims and only used Al Jazeera as the tool for the broadcast.
“Defamation is in two forms, the libel aspect which is written and there is the slanderous aspect which is oral.
“In the president going to Al Jazeera, he could equally have sent a letter to Mathias to retract. Because the issue of Al Jazeera is the fact that they broadcast it but the real issue is what Mathias said in the broadcast.
“What he said in the broadcast [the President] sees it as malicious, sees it as defamatory so why didn’t [he] go for him?
“From the first encounter of sending the letter to Al Jazeera a similar letter should have been sent to Mathias, it is Mathias who made the statement and used Al Jazeera as the platform to convey that message.”
Mr Jantuah further suggested to the President to sue Alistair Mathias and the Doha-based media conglomerate at the International Court of Justice after Al Jazeera said it would not retract and apologize.
“What is left for to do is to take on Mathias and maybe add Al Jazeera to it,” Mr Jantuah who is a leading member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) stated.
Al Jazeera Network said it has responded to the letter that was written to them by Mr Akufo-Addo, demanding an apology and retraction for a documentary.
This was after a journalist with TV3 wrote to Al Jazeera, enquiring whether or not they received the letter from Ghana’s Presidency.
In a response Al Jazeera said: “We have responded to the letter from the president of the Republic of Ghana, correcting some parts of its content and clarifying various points.
“Prior to the publication of Gold Mafia, we wrote to the president outlining the claims made by Alistair Mathias. The president’s response appears near the end of the documentary.”
Portions of the letter to Al Jazeera dated 25th April 2023 said: “The documentary in question made baseless claims that the President acted as a lawyer for one Mr Alistair Mathias and implied that the president personally benefited unlawfully from an alleged $100million state infrastructure contract purportedly awarded to Mr Mathias.”
It added: “It is imperative that you act forthwith on this request within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter.”
In the final episode of Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation into Mathias’ gold smuggling and money-laundering activities across Africa, he boastfully claimed to have relationships with various presidents on the continent including President Akufo-Addo.
He described Ghana’s President as a good friend and alleged that the President was his lawyer.
The President’s lawyer Kow Essuman also refuted attempts to link Mr Akufo-Addo to Alistair Mathias.
In a tweet on Sunday 16 April 2023, Essuman wrote that: “The President has not been in private practice since 2000, neither has the President nor his law firm, Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co. acted as a lawyer for this Alistair Mathias or Guldrest”.
“The President does not know this Mathias or Guldrest. Ignore the spurious allegations”, he added.
Some members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) latched on to these claims and raised various accusations against the President.
However, the claims were denied by legal counsel to the President, Kow Essuman who revealed that President Akufo-Addo had not been in private practice as a lawyer since 2000 and his legal chambers has not in any way acted as lawyers to Alistair nor any of his associates.
Posing as Chinese criminals seeking to launder money from Africa, Al Jazeera’s investigative team caught up with Mathias who spilled out his modus operandi.
The so-called financial architect also boasted about his alleged relationships with Presidents of some countries and the king of Swaziland.
“There’s no head of states or president that either of us can’t get to on this continent. Next door in Swaziland, the king is a close friend of mine. Zambia’s President is a close friend of mine. DRC, the president has invited me several times to come build a refinery”, he claimed.