for defamation and slander
In a writ served to journalist Travis Chase, HGPTV- Omar Farouk Inc. and Omar Farouk as defendants, embattled Permanent Secretary (PS) Omar Shariff is claiming damages in excess of ten million dollars (G$10M) for defamation and slander by uttering of the following words on a television broadcast, “Shariff liquid assets stands at just about ten billion dollars”, among other defamatory remarks issued on HGPTV.
Additionally, there is a further ten million dollars (G$10M) damages claimed for defamation in relation to the publication of the news broadcast on the social media platforms, including the popular Facebook.
Aggravated/exemplary damage and an injunction restraining the defendants from “further writing, printing or publishing or circulating or causing to be written, printed, published or circulated of PS Shariff, the said words or similar words and other matter or any of them or any publication of any kind to the like or similar effect”, is also sought, according to the writ filed – and which was seen by INews.
In his statement issued over the weekend, PS Shariff had condemned “a series of vile, sensationalist, untrue, propagandistic, and, in substantial and material respects, misleading news reports carried by sections of the electronic, broadcast and print media.”
Shariff had also said that “I am unable to discern from where the publications have concluded that I was holding billions of dollars in my accounts; this is simply not true.”
In a later report, a source had sought to indicate from whence a major error had arisen, but indicated that although much of the information published by one of the dailies and being circulated is likely misleading and likely erroneous, they are unable to conclude whether it was deliberately misleading or not.
PS Shariff had also indicated in his statement that there may be a person or persons at a high level of the investigation who may be pursuing an obvious agenda against him by “seeking to try me in public, impugn my integrity and reduce my standing as a professional.”
A copy of the PS’s Citizen Bank Account Balance as at Friday 12th August shows a balance of G$2m. This account was highlighted in the widely circulated “document” and there seem to be an obvious and glaring billion dollar error, either intentional or otherwise.
The Governor of the Bank of Guyana and the Minister of Public Security have been forced into the fray expressing concerns over the leaking of banking and other information and attempting to manage the obvious fallout from this fiasco.