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NEWS : Local News  

Sierra Leone News : Lawyer Warns Global Times for False Report against Alieu Sesay
By Abdul Malik Bangura
Apr 19, 2017, 17:10
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Two Sierra Leone newspapers; the Global Times and the New Storm have been told in no uncertain terms to retract their recent reports against the well respected ECOWAS Finance Commissioner Mr. Alieu Sesay. In letters addressed to them from the G.K Tholley & Co. Law Firm operating as Dijahmed Chambers, the two newspaper editors on 14th April 2017, have been demanded to apologise and do a “complete retraction” in three (3) consecutive publications of their various newspapers and all social media fora in which the editors participate. In addition, the Law Firm wants a payment of legal fees in the sum of ten million Leones (LE10,000,000/00) paid to the Lawyers. All these demands are over what the chamber refers to as false publications against the person of ECOWAS Commissioner Mr. Allieu Sesay.


According to the letters presented, amongst many allegations made by the newspapers, Global Times “published an article about our said client in volume 11 [No. 353] of your newspaper issued on Wednesday, 12th April instant under the banner headline:  “Former NRA Boss To Refund US$8M To ECOWAS”.

 

The letters further, “Global Times can authoritatively report that the Commissioner of Finance at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission in Abuja, Alieu Sesay has agreed to refund a whopping Three Hundred Million Naira or over Eight Million United States dollars to the Commission, being money he allegedly fraudulently converted to his own use while managing the Commission’s finances in Abuja, Nigeria…”


Against this backdrop, the letters state “Having regard to your assertion in your said publication that our client was “convicted by a Freetown High Court for corruption but exonerated by an Appeals Court in 2011” our client advised that you provide the evidence of his said conviction together with any evidence in your said publication within twenty-four hours.”

 

As a result, the letters added “Please be further informed that in the wake of your publication aforesaid our client, who is on his Easter vacation in Freetown, Sierra Leone, has received a barrage of local and international calls from relatives, friends and well-wishers and not-so-well-wishers alike with a view to ascertain the veracity of your publication and expressing mixed feelings of empathy, disgust, hatred and disappointment with him.

 

In a word, our client is in distress after being exposed to ridicule by your publication which you yourselves know to be false and calculated to assassinate his hard-earned reputation not only in Sierra Leone but in the sub-region as well.” Therefore, the chamber calls for immediate retractions to the said publications and also ordered the newspapers to comply with the conditions stated above or face serious legal actions.

 

Meanwhile, see below of this edition for letters addressed to the two media houses.




Barristers-At-Law & Solicitors

4 Brook Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Tel: 076-983-675

Email: gibstee2001@yahoo.co.uk

                                                         

                                                                                 Date: 14th April, 2017

THE EDITOR

GLOBAL TIMES COMMUNICATIONS

15 PERCIVAL STREET

FREETOWN

 

Dear Sir,

 

COMPLAINT OF PUBLICATION OF FALSE STATEMENT ABOUT MR ALLIEU SESAY WHICH (A) TENDS TO LOWER HIS PERSONA IN THE EYES OF RIGHT-THINKING MEMBERS OF BOTH THE SIERRA LEONEAN AND THE INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC;

(B) HAS CAUSED SERIOUS HARM TO HIS REPUTATION; AND NOTICE OF INTENTION TO PROSECUTE FOR LIBEL

 

We write on the instructions of our client, MR ALLIEU SESAY, the current Commissioner for Finance at the ECOWAS Commission and the erstwhile Commissioner General at the National Revenue Authority [NRA].

 

According to our instructions:

 

(i)     You published an article about our said client in volume 11 [No. 353] of your newspaper issued on Wednesday, 12th April instant under the banner headline:

         
“Former NRA Boss To Refund US$8M To ECOWAS”;

 

(ii)    In that article you stated matter-of-factly [at page 1] that:

        “Global Times can authoritatively report that the Commissioner of Finance at        the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission in Abuja, Alieu Sesay has agreed to refund a whopping Three Hundred Million Naira or over Eight Million United States dollars to the Commission, being money he allegedly fraudulently converted to his own use while managing the Commission’s finances in Abuja, Nigeria…”

 

(iii)    In that same article, you also stated matter-of-factly [at page 11] that:

        “The former NRA boss was convicted by a Freetown High Court for corruption but exonerated by an Appeals Court in 2011.”

 

(iv)   In the penultimate paragraph of your said article you admitted, rather belatedly, that our client “could not be reached for comment as at press time….”

 

Sir, we must point out to you that it is unethical in your profession to publish material without confirming its veracity, even in the press of time.

 

Please be informed that our client categorically denies each and every allegation of wrongdoing on his part, as stated matter-of-factly in your said publication. Especially, our client vehemently denies fraudulently converting to his own use the alleged “whopping Three Hundred Million Naira or over Eight Million United States dollars” or any sum whatsoever while managing the Commission’s finances in Abuja, Nigeria. He is similarly denying agreeing to reimburse the said Commission as alleged or at all.

 

Having regard to your assertion in your said publication that our client was “convicted by a Freetown High Court for corruption but exonerated by an Appeals Court in 2011” our client advised that you provide the evidence of his said conviction together with any evidence in your said publication within twenty-four hours.

 

Please be further informed that in the wake of your publication aforesaid our client, who is on his Easter vacation in Freetown, Sierra Leone, has received a barrage of local and international calls from relatives, friends and well-wishers and not-so-well-wishers alike with a view to ascertain the veracity of your publication and expressing mixed feelings of empathy, disgust, hatred and disappointment with him.

 

In a word, our client is in distress after being exposed to ridicule by your publication which you yourselves know to be false and calculated to assassinate his hard-earned reputation not only in Sierra Leone but in the sub-region as well. 

 

In the circumstances, we are demanding a COMPLETE RETRACTION of your said publication in three (3) consecutive publications of your newspaper and all social media fora in which you participate plus payment of legal fees in the sum of TEN MILLION LEONES (LE10, 000, 000/00) to our office (above) within a week of today’s date.

 

Please take notice that we have full instructions to prosecute you for damages for libel at the High Court of Sierra Leone, if you fail to accede to this demand in full within the said week from today’s date.

 

BE WARNED!

 

Yours faithfully,

 

G. K. THOLLEY & CO

 

Cc: (i) His Excellency, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma;

     (ii)      His Excellency, Marcel A. de Souza, President of the ECOWAS COMMISSION;

     (iii)      The Chair, ECOWAS Council of Ministers, c/o Liberian Embassy in Sierra Leone;

     (iv)     Dr Samura Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation;

      (v)     Mr Momodu Kargbo, Minister of Finance & Economic Development;

      (vi)    The Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation;

      (vii)    Mr Allieu Sesay



 

Barristers-At-Law & Solicitors

4 Brook Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Tel: 076-983-675

Email: gibstee2001@yahoo.co.uk

                                                         

                                                                                 Date: 14th April, 2017

THE EDITOR
THE NEW STORM COMMUNICATIONS
13 PADEMBA ROAD
FREETOWN

 

Dear Sir,


COMPLAINT OF PUBLICATION OF FALSE STATEMENT ABOUT MR ALLIEU SESAY WHICH (A) TENDS TO LOWER HIS PERSONA IN THE EYES OF RIGHT-THINKING MEMBERS OF BOTH THE SIERRA LEONEAN AND THE INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC;

(B) HAS CAUSED SERIOUS HARM TO HIS REPUTATION; AND NOTICE OF INTENTION TO PROSECUTE FOR LIBEL

 

We write on the instructions of our client, MR ALLIEU SESAY, the current Commissioner for Finance at the ECOWAS Commission and the erstwhile Commissioner General at the National Revenue Authority [NRA].

 

According to our instructions:

 

(i)     You published an article about our said client in volume 4 [No. 610] of your newspaper issued on Wednesday, 12th April instant under the banner headline:

APC Man Detained For Corruption In Nigeria”;

 

(ii)    In that article you stated, matter-of-factly [at page 1] that:

 “But for his diplomatic immunity, Alieu Sesay, the man of all people in the All People’s Congress (APC) government of President Bai Koroma, nominated as ECOWAS Commissioner of Finance, would have still been in detention in Abuja, Nigeria. This is because Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) proved he allegedly embezzled over three Hundred Million Naira of ECOWAS fund …”

 

(iii)    In that same article, you also stated, matter-of-factly [at page 2] that:

The erstwhile NRA boss was presented to President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House on Monday, where the sub-regional head catalogued his criminal activities ….”

 

(iv)   You further stated, matter-of-factly that:

“The APC man later confessed his guilt during the EFCC interrogation. He ended up promising to refund all the money he admitted to have siphoned”

Sir, we must point out to you that it is unethical in your profession to publish material without confirming its veracity, even in the press of time.

 

Please be informed that our client categorically denies each and every allegation of wrongdoing on his part, as stated matter-of-factly in your said publication. Especially, our client vehemently denies embezzling “over three Hundred Million Naira of ECOWAS fund …”  or any sum whatsoever while managing the Commission’s finances in Abuja, Nigeria. He is similarly denying agreeing to reimburse the said Commission as alleged or at all.

 

If, on the contrary, you sincerely believe in the accuracy of your said publication our client advised that you provide the evidence of his criminal conduct within twenty-four hours.

 

Please be further informed that in the wake of your publication aforesaid our client, who is on his Easter vacation in Freetown, Sierra Leone, has received a barrage of local and international calls from relatives, friends and well-wishers and not-so-well-wishers alike with a view to ascertain the veracity of your publication and expressing mixed feelings of empathy, disgust, hatred and disappointment with him.


In a word, our client is in distress after being exposed to ridicule by your publication which you yourselves know to be false and calculated to assassinate his hard-earned reputation not only in Sierra Leone but in the sub-region as well. 

 

In the circumstances, we are demanding a COMPLETE RETRACTION of your said publication in three (3) consecutive publications of your newspaper and all social media fora in which you participate plus payment of legal fees in the sum of TEN MILLION LEONES (LE10, 000, 000/00) to our office (above) within a week of today’s date.

 

Please take notice that we have full instructions to prosecute you for damages for libel at the High Court of Sierra Leone, if you fail to accede to this demand in full within the said week from today’s date.

 

BE WARNED!

 

Yours faithfully,

 

G. K. THOLLEY & CO

 

Cc: (i) His Excellency, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma;

(ii)    His Excellency, Marcel A. de Souza, President of the ECOWAS COMMISSION;

(iii)    The Chair, ECOWAS Council of Ministers, c/o Liberian Embassy in Sierra Leone;

(iv)   Dr Samura Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation;

(v)    Mr Momodu Kargbo, Minister of Finance & Economic Development;

(vi)   The Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation;

(vii)   Mr Allieu Sesay


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