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Gabby Otchere-Darko vrs Frimpong-Boateng: First witness discharged, case adjourned to 17 May

The witness of Gabby Otchere-Darko was discharged following the completion of cross-examination by Agbesi Dzakpasu, lawyer for the defendant

Philip Edem Kutsienyo, the plaintiff’s first witness in the defamation suit filed by the senior partner and co-founder of Africa Legal Associates,  Gabby Otchere-Darko (plaintiff), against the former minister of environment, science, technology and innovation Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng (the defendant) over what Otchere-Darko says are defamatory words the professor wrote against his person, has been discharged by the General jurisdiction high court hearing the case.

The Plaintiff’s first witness was discharged after the court’s sitting on Monday, 22 April 2024, following the completion of cross-examination by Agbesi Dzakpasu, the lawyer for the defendant. The case has subsequently been adjourned to Friday, 17 May 2024 for Gabby Otchere-Darko to call his second witness.


In his suit, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has asked the court to award him GHC10 million by way of general damages, including aggravated and/or exemplary damages.

He is also demanding an apology and a retraction of the words written by Professor Frimpong-Boateng (the defendant) about his person.

Otchere-Darko further prays the court to restrain Professor Frimpong-Boateng, his servants, agents or assigns through a perpetual injunction from repeating similar or other defamatory words against him.

Alleged defamatory words

Professor Frimpong-Boateng, in a leaked report dated 19 March 2021 and addressed to Akosua Osei-Opare, the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, made several allegations against present and past government officials as well as private persons, accusing them of being responsible for the inability of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) to fight illegal mining in Ghana between January 2017 and January 2021.

In his supposed report, Professor Frimpong Boateng wrote the follow statements concerning Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko: “What saddened me most was when Gabby Asare-Darko called to defend a company that was actively destroying the environment, especially the forests and River Offin in the Apaprama [sic] and Kobro Forests.

“We were ready to dislodge Imperial Heritage from Kobro forest when Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko called to inform me that he was the lawyer for Heritage Imperial Limited, a company that was destroying the Kobro and Apaprama Forest Reserves and in the process had also polluted and diverted the course of the River Offin, as can be seen in the satellite images below. I informed the President about the behaviour of Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko and he promised to deal with it.

“I was expecting people such as Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Captain Kodah, and others like them, who knew the president better and certainly had his interest and success at heart, to support the fight against illegal mining,” the report said.

“I was thus horrified to receive a telephone call from Otchere-Darko telling me he was the legal advisor to Donald Entsuah and his Imperial Heritage Mining Company and that the company should be allowed to work in the Kobro and Apaprama Forest Reserves.”

Plaintiff’s contention

Lawyers for Otchere-Darko, in their statement of claim dated 28 April 2023 and signed by Bright Okyere-Adjekum, contend that the “defendant from his report sought to sensationalise the telephone conversation with the plaintiff as Plaintiff never sought to direct or instruct Defendant on his dealings with Heritage”.

“Defendant placed a slant on his telephone conversation with the plaintiff only to justify his self-acclaimed position that he was the last man standing in the fight against Galamsey and thereby enhance his reputation at the plaintiff’s expense.

“Defendant’s false statements about the plaintiff, which have gone viral, have generated and continue to feed several insults against the plaintiff, especially on the internet, including the plaintiff being derisively called ‘Galamsey Lawyer’.

“Plaintiff’s conversation with Defendant did not involve any illegal Chinese miners. The defendant is deliberately and maliciously confusing issues, events, and dates,” the statement of claim read.

“By the records available to the plaintiff, the only Chinese nationals with work permits engaged by Heritage as its subcontractors who were arrested were discharged by a court of competent jurisdiction in July 2019. This was even before Heritage engaged ALA as its lawyers and the plaintiff had nothing to do with that at all.

“Notwithstanding the fact that the plaintiff has made it clear that the allegations made against him by the defendant are false, the defendant has not offered the plaintiff any apology or retraction.

“Instead, he has made more damning false allegations against the plaintiff. It is to be inferred that the defendant has cynically failed to do so because he is indifferent to the truth, deliberate about causing reputational damage to the plaintiff, has a total disregard for the plaintiff’s reputation, and only seeks to court huge publicity at the plaintiff’s expense.

“Plaintiff contends that unless restrained by the court, the defendant will continue to publish or cause to be published same or similar defamatory words concerning the plaintiff,” Otchere-Darko’s lawyers said in their statement of claim.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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