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Court gives Asiedu Nketia 24 hours to produce excuse duty to justify why he failed to show up for GH¢20 million defamation case

The High Court in Accra has given lawyers for Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia 24 hours to file a medical excuse duty to justify why the defendant failed to show up to mount his defence in a GH¢ 20 million defamation case. 

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The suit, which was filed by former Auditor-General, Professor Dua Agyeman, is in connection with Mr Asiedu Nketia’s comments in the media to the effect that Prof. Dua Agyeman generated fake audit reports resulting in him being sacked by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG).

Mr Asiedu Nketia, who has never shown up personally in court since the case started in October 2018, was expected to open his defence on Monday (July 1) but he failed to show up. 

Following the claim that the defendant was unwell, the court, presided over by Justice Audrey Kocuvie-Tay, ordered his lawyers to produce a medical excise duty to buttress their claim. 

Proceedings

When the case was called for hearing Wednesday (July 3) for the medical excuse duty to be produced, counsel for the defendant who held the brief for Samuel Cudjoe, informed the court that they were unable to present the excuse duty because the person bringing the document was running late due to the traffic situation, seeking a short adjournment. 

“He informs us this morning that he is running late to court as a result of the traffic situation on his route which has been caused by the weather conditions this morning.

“In the circumstance we pray this court for a further court adjournment to enable us procure same and bring same to the attention of the court,” counsel prayed. 

Feeble

Meanwhile, the judge, who was not happy with the excuse said, “I honestly find the reasons submitted by Counsel for defendant very feeble because notwithstanding the weather conditions the court is present”. 

She added that since the person was already on his way, lawyers for the defendant should file the excuse duty.

Consequently, she ordered the court clerks to receive the report first thing tomorrow (Thursday July 4, 2024) morning. 

The case has been adjourned to Friday July 5, 2024. 

Background 

Prof. Dua Agyeman is arguing that the allegation by Mr Asiedu Nketia is without basis and that it only sought to impugn his integrity, dignity and reputation in the eyes of right-thinking members of society.

According to the plaintiff, the defendant, on October 2, 2018, made some unsubstantiated and disparaging statements on an Accra-based radio station, Neat FM, accusing him of producing fake audit accounts in 1983 while he was at the Audit Service.

He is reported to have said that “the plaintiff was banned from auditing in 1983 by the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) for producing “fake” accounts for a non-existent company”. In view of the ban, the plaintiff could not practice as a private auditor.

The defendant’s comments caused the former Auditor General to sue the defendant on the grounds that the comments had generated media attention in Ghana and abroad apparently to tarnish his hard-won reputation.

Reliefs sought

Prof. Dua Agyeman is accordingly praying the court to declare that the defendant’s publication on Neat FM that he was banned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) for producing fake audited accounts for a non-existent company is slanderous and defamatory of him and same was made without any reasonable, just or probable cause.

“A declaration that the Defendant’s publication on Neat FM that “Dua Agyeman concocted fake audit reports concerning some senior officers which led to their dismissal from public service” is slanderous and defamatory of the Plaintiff and same was made without any reasonable, just or probable cause,” the plaintiff is praying.

Prof. Dua Agyeman is seeking a further declaration that the defendant’s publication on Neat FM that he was sacked from the Audit Service by reason of dishonesty was slanderous and defamatory of him and same was made without any reasonable, just or probable cause.

He wants the court to grant an order of injunction directed at the defendant, agents, assigns and his privies from continuing to make any further defamatory publication about him.

An Order of Court directed at the defendant to retract the said defamatory publication and render an unqualified apology in the same prominence on Neat FM and four publications in the Daily Graphic is also being sought.

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General damages and compensatory damages in the sum of GH¢20 million  for loss of reputation is also being sought against the defendant

Writer’s mail: [email protected] 

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