Ghana’s Security Minister Sues Activist Over Defamation Claim
Kan Dapaah, Ghana’s Minister of National Security, has filed a lawsuit against Oliver Barker-Vormawor, the convener of the #FixTheCountry Movement. The lawsuit is a response to Barker-Vormawor’s claims that he was offered money by National Security and other government officials in 2021 to halt his activism. Barker-Vormawor made these allegations after being released from police custody, following his arrest for participating in a demonstration in Accra that violated a restraining order secured by the police.
In the lawsuit, Dapaah is asking the court to declare Barker-Vormawor’s allegations as defamatory. He is also seeking a sum of Ten Million Ghana Cedis (GHC10,000,000.00) as general damages, including aggravated and/or exemplary damages for defamation. Furthermore, Dapaah is demanding an apology and retraction of the defamatory words and a perpetual injunction preventing Barker-Vormawor from repeating similar or other defamatory words against him.
Claims of Activism Silencing
Barker-Vormawor previously claimed he was offered $1 million and numerous attractive government positions to cease his activism, which he alleges was tarnishing the government’s image. While Barker-Vormawor insists that he has evidence to support these claims, he has not yet made this evidence public.
The Ministry of National Security issued a statement on September 22, 2023, denying Barker-Vormawor’s allegations. The lawsuit and the subsequent trial will be a significant event, revealing either a serious abuse of power by the government or a damaging false accusation by Barker-Vormawor.
Potential Implications of the Lawsuit
The lawsuit filed by Minister Dapaah seeks redress for the defamatory statements made by Barker-Vormawor. In addition to asking the court to declare Barker-Vormawor’s words defamatory, the Minister is demanding the recovery of the sum of Ten Million Ghana Cedis (GHC10,000,000.00) as General Damages, including Aggravated and/or Exemplary Damages for Defamation for the words uttered by the Defendant.
The outcome of this lawsuit could have far-reaching implications for how political activism and criticism are treated in Ghana, and may set a precedent for future defamation cases involving public figures and activists. The case is expected to generate significant attention and scrutiny as it touches on broader issues of free speech, government accountability, and the role of civic movements in Ghana’s political landscape.
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