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By Paul C Nwabuikwu
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Following the publication of a patently false story against her by POINTBLANK NEWS, an online news medium, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has sued the medium for N10 billion.

The minister is claiming the amount against POINTBLANK NEWS COMMUNICATIONS INC. and its directors – Jackson Ude and Churchill Umoren – as general damages for libel and the same amount as exemplary and aggravated damages for libel.

The suit is with regard to a news story titled “Okonjo-Iweala buys N1.2 billion Abuja mansion!”published on January 10, 2012 which, among other false claims, alleged that the Minister purchased the “mansion” from Chief Fabian Nworah, owner of EFAB Properties Ltd in November 2011.

In response to a rebuttal issued by the minister's office, POINTBLANK NEWS responded that it had “overwhelming evidence to prove that she owns the mansion but if she insists we are wrong she knows where to seek redress”.

Chief Nworah issued a statement in which he denied that he or his company sold the alleged property - No 3 Nworah Street, Off Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja - or any other property to Dr Okonjo-Iweala. He added for emphasis that the property described in the story was in fact still available for purchase at the time the story was published.

In the statement signed by Chief Nworah: “It is a fact that we have properties for sale but nonehas been sold as at today – January 11, 2012. We are still looking for buyers and we want to say categorically that we did not sell any of the houses to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.”

In confirmation that its intent was malicious rather than professional, POINTBLANK NEWS refused to retract its story and in fact continued to prominently display the egregious falsehood on its website, in defiance of all standards of professionalism and decency.

Paul C Nwabuikwu
Senior Special Assistant to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy/Minister of Finance

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