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Okonjo-Iweala wins six-year libel case against online news platform Pointblanknews

Valentine Chinyem

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Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has won the libel case against online news platform, Pointblanknews.

The High Court sitting in FCT, Abuja, also ordered Pointblanknews to pay a total of N200m in damages for the libellous story it published – and for refusing to withdraw the story despite the fact that story was proved to be false.

Delvering judgement on the case which has been on since 2012 with suit No. FCT/HC/CV/2602/12, Justice Chizoba N. Oji also included an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants – the platform and its founders Jackson Ude and Churchill Umoren – from defaming the former minister in the future.

In the article published January 10, 2012, titled, OKONJO-IWEALA BUYS N1.2 BILLION ABUJA MANSION, Pointblanknew falsely accused Dr. Okonjo-Iweala of purchasing “a massive home in Maitama, Abuja for a whopping N1.2 billion”.

More so, the website has claimed that a reliable source working for the property management company in charge of the house, diclosed the nees to them. They also alleged that the house is located at No 3 Nwaora Street, Off, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja.

“The Coordinating minister’s mansion, is a 7 bedrooms duplex with boys quarters and a swimming pool, a massive Masters Bedroom with an adjacent bedroom dubbed “ Madam’s Bedroom.

The mansion, which is still unfurnished, could wear a tag of over N2 billion after furnishing. It has a red clay roof. The property is complete with top shelf marble imported from Italy, gold trimmings and chandeliers in the living rooms, bedrooms and a very expansive kitchen.”

To add more damage, Pointblanknews also accused the former minister, without any proof to substantiate its claim, of “pocketing $2 billion (two billion dollars) in commission in the last debt buy-back deal under the presidency of the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration” (sic).

However, Mr Fabian Nwaora, the owner of the property who was identified in the report came out to say that not only had Dr Okonjo-Iweala not bought any property from him, the building in question was still up for sale.

In response to a rebuttal issued by the minister’s spokesperson, Pointblanknews declared: “We have overwhelming evidence to prove she owns the mansion but if she insists we are wrong, she knows where to seek redress”.

The platform which was mostly absent through the duration of the court case, got a fine of N50,000,000 (Fifty Million Naira) as general damages and Exemplary damages in the sum of N150,000,000 (One hundred and fifty million Naira) against the Defendants jointly and severally.

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