Kairo News has sensationally apologised to Mai Ahmad Fatty after admitting that it had published an article that had been defamatory of the former minister.
The online news portal on 12 November 2017 published an article under the headline “Why President Barrow Removes Mai,” that made false allegations of corruption against the former minister of the Interior.
The article said Mr. Fatty was removed from office because he received a bribe of 15 million dollars from a Belgian company SEMLEX that specialises in the production of biometric identification documents.
The article caused a storm on social media and threw into question the former minister’s personal integrity and reputation.
But now the editorial board of the US-registered portal in an apology issued at the weekend said “for the first time in its close to four years of existence, Kairo News has become a punching bag left and right for publishing a story whose authenticity has been questioned.”
The portal said on its website: “Now that both Mai and Semlex have denied the insider’s allegations, Kairo News will not shy away from writing its first ever rejoinder. And in line with journalistic tradition, editors and publishers swallow their pride and correct a story and where necessary, say sorry.”
It added: “In that regard, Kairo News apologises to Hon. Mai Ahmad Fatty for any inconveniences the article might have caused to him, friends and family members.”
It’s unclear if Mr. Fatty had accepted Kairo News’s apology but a close friend of the former minister admitted yesterday that the article was deeply distressing to Mr. Fatty.
He said: “Kairo News have knocked themselves out of their self-proclaimed credibility stride. By its very exterior, the article was bound to raise eyebrows. I consider this fiction, dubious and the work of the very people who are now apologising to Mr. Fatty.”
Another friend of Mr. Fatty commented: “Kairo News is an online portal of UDP persuasion, managed by prominent UDP diaspora activists. The article was crafted to bring Mai into disrepute. It’s wicked. And with this they have earned my clearest disdain.”
The government has still not given any reasons for Mr. Fatty removal even as the former minister has emphatically denied allegations of corruption and said he was ready to face investigation.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe has weighed in into alleged corruption allegations against Mr. Fatty.
He told a town hall meeting in faraway Washington DC on Saturday: ““I never thought that Gambians can be so malicious. I never thought that Gambians can be so mischievous. Just sit up and concoct stories on your own and publish them; and give them some credence. I could not imagine that anybody could do that.”
He continued: “I want to say that those terrible allegations against Mr. Mai Fatty are malicious, mischievous and there is no iota of truth in them. These are people, who are just bent on tarnishing not Mai Fatty, but the administration of President Adama Barrow; because if a minister is found wanting; if any minister is found wanting; it is the Barrow administration that is found wanting.”