Ibrahim Mahama, brother of President Mahama, has described as “wicked” an alleged defamatory statement made about him and the president by Bernard Antwi Boasiako aka ‘Wontumi,’ the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
“Wontumi said dangerous and wicked lies about me and President Mahama when he told a huge crowd at Obuasi that we had stolen state money which we had used to buy a plane for luxurious trips to South Africa whilst the masses suffered,” he stated.
Addressing a packed High Court 7 in Kumasi presided over by Charles Adjei Wilson on Wednesday, Ibrahim stated that he was a prominent businessman who owned four big companies which offered employment to 4,500 people in the country.
Ibrahim, who was for the first time giving evidence in court in a case he sued Wontumi for GH¢5 million for peddling falsehood to defame him in public, insisted that he was a decent person who had acquired his wealth through hard work and genuine means.
According to him, all that Wontumi said about him during a rally at Obuasi on March 30, 2014 were lies, adding that his lawyers initially wrote to Wontumi to retract the story for peace to prevail but Wontumi refused.
He said his hard work had helped him to establish large companies such as Engineers and Planners, MBG Ghana, Engineers and Planners Construction Ltd and Asutware Farms, adding that his wealth was not acquired illegally.
Ibrahim, who was led by his lawyer, Charles Zwennes, stated that he was not part of President Mahama’s government therefore Wontumi’s wild allegation that he and the president were frequently increasing fuel prices to enrich themselves was false.
“I am not part of the committee that set oil prices in the country. In fact, I don’t work in my brother’s government therefore it is not true that we have been increasing fuel prices to enrich ourselves as Wontumi stated on the recorded tape,” Ibrahim pointed out.
Ibrahim stated again that it was not true that his brother Mahama owned a private plane which they used for luxurious trips to South Africa, explaining that “I also don’t own a private plane. The plane that I use was purchased by my company, Engineers and Planners, for work purposes and not for luxurious trips as he claimed.”
He said he didn’t know Wontumi personally prior to the defamatory case involving them, noting that he had only heard about Wontumi in the media, adding that he was surprised when Wontumi suddenly decided to defame him without provocation.
Even though proceedings generally went on smoothly, there was however a bit of drama as Charles Zwennes and Egbert Faibille, counsel for Ibrahim and Wontumi respectively, occasionally clashed over how the proceedings were going but both lawyers quickly reached a compromise for the case to proceed.
The case has been adjourned to April 7 and 8 this year, when Ibrahim Mahama is expected to continue with his evidence to the court. Ibrahim was once again accompanied to court by his uncle, Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe but Wontumi was absent in court.