The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, has sued The Republic – a pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) newspaper – over a publication suggesting that he had abused his office by using his position to extend diplomatic courtesies to the alleged Chinese galamsey (illegal mining) queen, Aisha Huang, in return for personal pleasures.
The former Member of Parliament (MP) for the Bosomtwe Constituency in the Ashanti Region was particularly upset by the very “unpleasant and nasty way” in which the news was written without any attempt to cross-check the facts with him.
He has also sued the managing editor of the newspaper, David Tamakloe and the writer of the said news item, Fiifi Samuels – all of DST Global Consult, Kpeshie-Accra.
It is understood that Mr Osei Mensah took exception because he is often identified as a role model for young people and political activists who are aspiring to occupy the office of the regional minister and MP in the near future.
In a complaint document filed before the High Court of Justice, general jurisdiction, in Accra, lawyers for Mr Osei Mensah said the minister had found the newspaper publication to be tremendously damaging to his reputation.
According to the court documents, the minister believes the defendants’ claims, as contained in the story headlined: ”Galamsey Queen Cozy Cozy with Minister,’ are egregiously false, and that the publication is so vile, malicious and mischievously harmful to him, having served as a former MP for the Bosomtwe Constituency, a deputy speaker in the ECOWAS Parliament and a banker.
Mr Mensah said he was distressed and embarrassed by the claims in the story which had created substantial disaffection for him and exposed him to public scandal, ridicule, contempt and odium.
He averred that the defendants’ publication was meant and understood to mean that he is a hypocrite who is covertly flirting with an alleged galamsey queen as minister while the government has declared a war against illegal mining activities.
The minister also argued that the said story was meant and understood to mean he is an opportunist, unprincipled and dishonest public officer who uses his office to seek personal pleasures at the expense of the national interest.