A New York law firm has agreed to file a lawsuit on behalf of Saltpond Offshore Producing Company Limited (SOPCL) and its operators against “Wall Street Journal” (WSJ) for defamation.
The WSJ has been engaging in a campaign of smear and calumny against SOPC, an official of the company has said.
The company said the world class paper had also treated with disdain, its demand for the retraction of the offending stories and for an apology. According to Addo Atuah, an Accra-based legal practitioner, his partners in New York, have thus agreed to file a lawsuit against WSJ at United States Federal High Court in New York, on behalf of SOPCL and its operators, Lushann Eternit Energy Limited, as well as its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Quincy Sintim Aboagye.
Mr Atuah said he was also seeking leave at the High Court to file another lawsuit against WSJ in Ghana.
He explained that on or about August 21, 2014, WSJ published an article – “Tiny Ghana Oil Platform’s Big Output Sparks Scrutiny” – which sought to insinuate that SOPCL was involved ‘in shipping of barrels of ‘pilfered Nigerian crude’ to Europe, notably near the port of Genoa in Italy.
He said following the publication, the Nigerian Economic and Financial Commission (EFFC) sent a 10-member investigation team to join officers of Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) of Ghana to carry out thorough investigations into the operation of SOPCL, adding, “they went to the rig to examine operations but found no wrongdoing”.
Mr Atuah said the Public Interest and Accountability Committee had also given SOPCL a clean bill of health. In a related development, Jarret Tenebe, Chief Executive Officer of Fenix Impex, Nigeria, an oil marketing company, who was arrested following the publication, has since been released and was in the process of filing a lawsuit.
This Day, newspaper of Nigeria, which lifted the WSJ report, has upon finding out the truth, retracted it with apologies.