THE PURPORTED audio recording which Bernard Antwi Boasiako, the Ashanti Regional New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman, allegedly used to defame President Mahama and his brother, Ibrahim Mahama, was played in court for the first time on Tuesday.
The tape, which lasted for less than three minutes, captured the voice of a male, which the complainant (Ibrahim) claims is that of the NPP regional chairman, popularly called Wontumi, addressing a crowd where the speaker took on the president and his brother.
Charles Zwennes, counsel for Ibrahim Mahama, produced the audio recording and a tape recorder powered by dry cell batteries, which was used to play the voice to the hearing of the packed-to-capacity High Court Five, presided over by Justice E.K.B. Apenkwa.
This was when hearing commenced in a case brought by Ibrahim Mahama against Wontumi alleging that the latter had labelled him (Ibrahim) and his brother (the president) as thieves who had stolen state money from the frequent price increases of petroleum products to enrich themselves, whilst Ghanaians suffer.
Ibrahim Mahama insists that there is no iota of truth in the comment alleged to have been passed by Wontumi during a party gathering at Obuasi on March 30, 2014. He has sued the NPP strongman, demanding GH¢5 million damages.
On the tape, a male voice was heard lambasting President Mahama for continually increasing prices of petroleum products, thereby plunging Ghanaians into hardship, noting that the president doesn’t care about the plight of the citizenry.
The speaker then went on to say that President Mahama and his brother had been stealing state monies accrued from the frequent increases which they had used to buy aircraft for pleasure trips to South Africa.
The speaker, who by his tone seemed angry, also charged Ghanaians to demand the cause of death of ex-President Mills, before threatening to lead two million people to demonstrate against President Mahama’s bad leadership style.
Prior to the playing of the audio recording, Nana Adwoa Owusu, editor of Prime FM, had mounted the dock as witness for Ibrahim Mahama, and was cross-examined by Charles Zwennes.
She recalled a reporter of her station attending a public forum at Obuasi on March 30, 2014, where Wontumi, who was a speaker, accused the president and Ibrahim Mahama of stealing state funds to enrich themselves.
According to her, after taking delivery of the written story which her reporter described as a “bomb” in news terms, she called Wontumi for verification.
“But Wontumi told me on phone that he was tired of repeating the same statement so I should go for the audio tape if I want to run the story,” Nana Adwoa said, adding that she struggled to get the tape.
She said when her station broadcasted the story it ignited mixed reaction from the public as some people described Wontumi’s statement as a wild allegation with no substance, and others also believing that the statement was true.
Nana Adwoa’s cross-examination will continue today, Wednesday, May 20.
Before the hearing commenced, the judge read a letter which Egbert Faibille Jr., counsel for Wontumi, had written to the court to adjourn the case since he (Egbert) was engaged somewhere on Tuesday.
Charles Zwennes, in an angry tone, quickly told the court to put away Egbert’s letter, insisting that the defendants were intentionally adopting adjournments as a strategy to delay the case unduly.
Eventually, the presiding judge said that indeed the hearing of the case had been delayed for a long time and ordered for the hearing to begin in the absence of Egbert.
Ibrahim Mahama was present in court but Wontumi was absent as he was represented by his programmes manager, Andy Owusu.
Source: I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr./Daily Guide
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