The Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, has dragged the publisher of The Herald newspaper and its editor, Larry Alans Dogbey to court for defamation over a publication accusing her of corruption at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST).
Mrs Osei-Opare is seeking GH¢20million in damages for defamation in relation to the said publication which alleged that she stopped a planned auction of some vehicles at BOST and rather distributed the vehicles to sympathisers of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The writ, signed by lawyer for the Chief of Staff, Gary Nimako Marfo, of Marfo & Associates, was filed at the Accra High Court Wednesday, August 17, 2022.
Prior to filing the suit, Mrs Osei-Opare, through her lawyers, on August 10, 2022, wrote to Mr Dogbey and gave him a 24 hour ultimatum to retract the publication and apologise , but the newspaper was yet to accede to her request.
In her statement of claim, the Chief of Staff averred that the said publication was defamatory, without any factual basis and calculated to tarnish her reputation.
“The publication was malicious and carefully calculated to tarnish her hard earned reputation and ridicule her in the eyes of right thinking members of society,
The plaintiff avers that she is not a staff of BOST and that attempts to drag her into Management/Board decisions by the defendants is intended to cause her public disaffection, ”the statement of claim stated.
Apart from seeking compensatory damages of GH¢20million, the Chief of Staff is seeking an order from the court directed at The Herald to retract the publication and render “an unqualified apology in the same prominence as the defamatory publication.’’
She is also seeking an order of injunction restraining the defendants, their privies, assigns and agents from continuing making defamatory publications about her.
Again, she wants the court to declare the publication as defamatory and without any basis.
On Wednesday, August 3, 2022, The Herald published a story with the headline “More rot emerge from BOST with Chief of Staff Named again.”
It is the case of the Chief of Staff that there was no iota of truth in the said publication, adding that she had not used her position to halt any auction of vehicles at BOST.
According to her, the evidence on record showed that the said auction which the publication alleged never happened, actually took place with the proceeds being paid directly to BOST.
“The Plaintiff further avers that her checks have revealed that notice of the auction was published in the Daily Graphic of April 29, 2022 and that the auction was sanctioned by the Public Procurement Authority,” the statement of claim added.
The Chief of Staff further refuted assertions in the publication that she used her position to dispose of cars at BOST.
“The plaintiff avers that the claim by the defendants that the ‘cars were disposed of under mysterious circumstances’ is false and not borne out by official records at BOST,” the statement of claim stated.