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Politician files US$10 million libel suit against newspaper

(CEMESP/IFEX) - After his release on a US$5 million bail bond, Israel Akinsanya, the former chairman of the Liberty Party who is accused of theft by the giant GSM Company (Lonestar Cell MTN), has filed a US$10 million lawsuit for libel against the "Liberian Journal" newspaper.

Both Love FM and the "Liberian Journal" paper are operated by Sarafina Communications, owned by former Maritime Commissioner Benoni Urey. Urey is also financier of another opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change.

In a recent news conference, Akinsanya vowed to take the newspaper to court for publishing a story in its Friday 21 October 2011 edition captioned, "In an attempt to escape: Israel Akinsanya booked at RIA".

The paper reported that Akinsanya tried to sneak out of the country to an unknown destination, without an acquittal by the court, which indicted him for allegedly robbing Lonestar Communications to the tune of US$5 million.

The story was published at the time Akinsanya was released from further detention at the Monrovia Central Prison, where he was held for his failure to secure a US$5 million bond in connection with a US$2 million theft case filed against him by the communications giant.

In the plaintiff's direction filed recently by his legal counsel Powo Hilton to the Civil Law Court, presided over by Judge Yusuf Kaba and dated 27 October, the plaintiff alleged that the "Liberian Journal"'s story was designed to cause the revocation of the plaintiff's appearance bond.

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