Al Jazeera Network has said it has responded to the letter that was written to them by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, demanding an apology and retraction for a documentary in which it was stated that Mr Akufo-Addo acted as a lawyer for one Mr Alistair Mathias, a Canadian Gold smuggler and money launderer, and also benefited from an alleged $100million infrastructure contract awarded to Mathias.
This was after a journalist with TV3 wrote to Al Jazeera, enquiring whether or not they received the letter from Ghana’s Presidency.
In a response Al Jazeera said: “We have responded to the letter from the president of the Republic of Ghana, correcting some parts of its content and clarifying various points.
“Prior to the publication of Gold Mafia, we wrote to the president outlining the claims made by Alistair Mathias. The president’s response appears near the end of the documentary.”
Portions of the letter to Al Jazeera dated 25th April 2023 said: “The documentary in question made baseless claims that the President acted as a lawyer for one Mr Alistair Mathias and implied that the president personally benefited unlawfully from an alleged $100million state infrastructure contract purportedly awarded to Mr Mathias.”
It added: “It is imperative that you act forthwith on this request within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter.”
In the final episode of Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation into Mathias’ gold smuggling and money-laundering activities across Africa, he boastfully claimed to have relationships with various presidents on the continent including President Akufo-Addo.
He described Ghana’s President as a good friend and alleged that the President was his lawyer.
The President’s lawyer Kow Essuman also refuted attempts to link Mr Akufo-Addo to Alistair Mathias.
In a tweet on Sunday 16 April 2023, Essuman wrote that: “The President has not been in private practice since 2000, neither has the President nor his law firm, Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co. acted as a lawyer for this Alistair Mathias or Guldrest”.
“The President does not know this Mathias or Guldrest. Ignore the spurious allegations”, he added.
Some members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) captured on to these claims and raised various accusations against the President.
Posing as Chinese criminals seeking to launder money from Africa, Al Jazeera’s investigative team caught up with Mathias who spilled out his modus operandi.
The so-called financial architect also boasted about his alleged relationships with Presidents of some countries and the king of Swaziland.
“There’s no head of states or president that either of us can’t get to on this continent. Next door in Swaziland, the king is a close friend of mine. Zambia’s President is a close friend of mine. DRC, the president has invited me several times to come build a refinery”, he claimed.