Complicity in illegal mining: Court awards Frimpong Boateng 1 million cedis damages

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    The Commercial division of the High Court on 28th May, 2021, cleared Prof. Frimpong Boateng, the immediate past Minister for Environment, Science, Innovation, and Technology of any wrong dealings relative to his role as the Chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on illegal mining.

    Prof.Frimpong Boateng filed a suit at the High court against Solomon K.A Owusu for making defamatory statements against him and publishing the same on a platform administered by the second Defendant, Anor.

    Background

    Prof.Frimpong Boateng, former minister for Environment, Innovation, Science and Technology was appointed by President Akufo-Addo as Head of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining(IMCIM).

    The committee is made up of Ministers of the following ministries; Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Chieftaincy & Religious Affairs, Regional Re-Organisation and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, Water and Sanitation, Interior, Defense, and Information.

     At a Durbar of the chiefs and people of Bibiani in 2020, President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo commended Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng for doing a yeoman’s job as the Chairman of Inter-Ministerial Committee On Illegal Mining (IMCIM).

    Prof.Frimpong Boateng was however removed later as chairman of the IMCIM after the committee was dissolved by the president.

    In his statement of claim, Prof Boateng avered that from March 2018 to February 2019, the second Defendant published some defamatory statements made against him by the 1st Defendant.

    “From March 2018 to February 2019, the 2nd Defendant published some statements made by 1st Defendant using the words “…greedy ministerial committee chairman”…” whose son is involved in illegal mining” “the greedy Prof.Frimpong Boateng” “Greedy politician who wants to amass all the wealth to the grave”

    The case was presided by His Lordship Justice Justin Kofi Dorgu.

    The plaintiff, Prof. Frimpong Boateng sought 4 reliefs. Among them are:

    A declaration that the statements made by the 1st Defendant against him and published on the social media platform “Kill Corruption Now” and administered by 2nd Defendant were defamatory.

    An order of perpetual injunction restraining defendants, their agents, assigns, privies howsoever called from making and or publishing any defamatory statements of Plaintiff on any platform whatsoever.

    He further demanded general damages of Two Million Ghana Cedis for defamation.

    In his ruling, His Lordship Justice Kofi Dorgu mentioned that the defendants had refused to attend court to file any defense. He further referred to several Authorities especially Engineering Gh. Vrs Moses(1984-86) 2 GLR 319(CA) in granting the plaintiff’s plea for damages.

    In clearing Prof. Frimpong Boateng in his role as Chairman of the IMCIM, he mentioned that the allegations by the defendants had no justification.

    “There is no justification or truth regarding the allegations as recounted above and the defendants have not provided any,” said the judge.

    He went on to award damages of One Million Ghana Cedis against the Defendants jointly and severally in favor of Plaintiff, decreed perpetual injunction against the defendants, and awarded a cost of Twenty thousand cedis against the Defendant.