The legal representatives of former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, have issued a stern warning to media outlets to cease publishing false and misleading information about their client.
In emails addressed to the Multimedia Group and GhanaWeb, Cecilia Dapaah’s legal team expressed deep concern over the propagation of untrue information regarding their client’s situation. The emails, dated August 11, 2023, were shared with the media as evidence of the lawyers’ stance against what they perceive as erroneous coverage.
The legal correspondence stated that on August 8, 2023, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) filed an application in the High Court, Financial Division, seeking the confirmation of a freezing order on Cecilia Dapaah’s bank accounts. The application did not, however, disclose specific monetary amounts linked to these accounts.
Despite the absence of specific amounts revealed by the OSP, both JoyNews and GhanaWeb, two major media outlets, reportedly published stories with sensational headlines and claims that were attributed to nameless, unidentified, and unverified sources.
The lawyers argued that the news outlets’ continuous reportage, based on these unreliable sources, included figures concerning the sums allegedly found in Cecilia Dapaah’s bank accounts. These figures, such as $5 million and GHS 48 million, were unsubstantiated and contradicted by the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s subsequent clarification.
In one email, the lawyers cited the OSP’s verified social media handle, which rebuked the claims of revealing specific amounts of money in their client’s accounts. Despite this correction, the media outlets allegedly persisted in pushing the false narrative.
Cecilia Dapaah’s legal team contends that this kind of coverage goes against the fundamental principle of the presumption of innocence that she is legally entitled to. The lawyers emphasized the damage caused by these false reports to their client’s reputation and called for an immediate retraction and an apology within three days. They also urged the media outlets to use the same means and coverage with which the false information was disseminated to make the retractions and apologies.
If the demands are not met within the specified timeframe, the lawyers have indicated their client’s intention to pursue legal action against the media outlets to address the harm caused by the inaccurate reporting.