Court fines Starr FM reporter GH¢33,000 for defamation

FLASHBACK: The said vehicle at the centre of the controversy which was reportedly missing
FLASHBACK: The said vehicle at the centre of the controversy which was reportedly missing

A Bolgatanga Magistrate Court, has slapped a GH¢33,000 fine on Mr Edward Adeti, the Upper East Regional correspondent for the Accra based Starr FM, a private radio station for publishing a defamatory story. 

According to a report by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) Adeti is said to have published the defamatory report against Madam Hajira Ibrahim, wife of a former Upper East Regional Director of Health Services.

The court, presided over by Mr Osman Abdul-Hakeem ordered the defendant [Adeti] to compensate the plaintiff [Hajira Ibrahim] in the sum of GH¢20,000 “for the defamation caused the plaintiff based on the comments and publication of same comments around the 29th January 2017 on A1 Radio, (a local radio station based in the Bolgatanga Municipality) and affiliate stations across the country.”

Adeti who was not in court, was further ordered by the court to compensate the plaintiff for natural damages for defamation in the sum of GH¢10,000 and a cost of GH¢3000 was also awarded against the defendant.

It would be recalled that Mr Adeti, on January 29, 2017 published a story on the station’s website captioned “Missing Vehicles: UER health boss begs; car found at residence,” and a sub-headline “Starr investigates Ghana Essential Health Intervention Project (GEHIP) reportedly given to wife”, sought to suggest that Madam Ibrahim, wife of the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services at the time, Dr Kofi Issah was “unduly” given an official vehicle meant for GEHIP.

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The said story claimed in part that “Sources within the Upper East Regional Health Directorate hinted Starr News in October, 2016, that Dr Issah had unduly given out to his wife an official project vehicle, a grey pickup meant to ‘sustain the gains made’ under the Ghana Essential Health Intervention Project (GEHIP)”.

Madam Ibrahim, unhappy about the publication, filed a suit against the reporter in court for defamation around the same time the publication was made.

The court found the defendant [Adeti] liable of all reliefs sort by the plaintiff and ordered the reporter to retract the story within 72 hours and air same through the medium first used.

The presiding judge, Mr Abdul Hakeem said “Understandably, the court came to this conclusion based on the facts established”.

Madam Ibrahim told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after the judgement that she was happy with the court’s decision.