A legal practitioner and a member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has sued publishers of the Ghana Palaver newspaper and another for defamation.
He wants the High Court to perpetually restrain Revalap Publishers and Commercial Estates Ltd and Tetteh Amedjoe, Editor of the Ghana Palaver newspaper, and their agents from further publishing or causing to be published the said or similar words defamatory of him.
The words complained of were contained in a publication, which alleged that the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta had allegedly awarded a $20 million contract to Mr Otchere-Darko to review contracts awarded at the Ministry of Finance.
The story also alleged that Mr Otchere-Darko had engaged a law firm based in the United States of America (USA) to assist his (Mr Otchere-Darko’s) law firm to undertake the task.
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Graphic Online's Mabel Aku Baneseh reports that the writ of summons, filed on September 13, 2017, is praying the court to award damages including aggravated damages against the defendants for publishing libelous materials.
Counsel for the plaintiff, Mr Kissi Agyebeng, signed the writ of summons.
Mr Otchere-Darko has denied the story and is further asking the court to award costs including lawyers’ fees.
Peddling of Falsehood
Mr Otchere-Darko further noted that the defendants calculated the publication to disparage him in his trade, business and profession.
According to the plaintiff, unless restrained by the court, the defendants would continue to publish defamatory materials to ruin his reputation.
The plaintiff further averred in the statement of claim accompanying the writ of summons that “the words complained of are utterly false, products of defendants’ imagination and were mischievously calculated by the defendants to disparage him and to create disaffection for him and to bring him into odium in the eyes of right thinking members of the Republic and the global community.”
“In consequence, the plaintiff’s reputation, especially as a lawyer, has been egregiously damaged and he has suffered debilitating distress and embarrassment.
"Further, he has been inundated with numerous calls from business associates and social relations and friends and outright strangers and he has had to answer to very mortifying questions,” the statement of claim noted.
It argued that the defendants published the words complained of knowing they were false and well calculated to increase sales and circulation of Ghana Palaver, and which sales, would outweigh any compensation payable to the plaintiff.
It said “the defendants knew that once the publication was made, they would be culled and reproduced on the website of media houses and accessible to countless numbers of persons worldwide.”
The statement of claim further noted that the defendants knew that once the article was published on the internet, it could and would be accessed by a substantial but unquantifiable number of subscribers to the internet around the world.
It said “the defendants knew and intended that their publication of the words complained of should be published and republished and/or such publication and republication was the natural and probable consequence of their publication.”
“The publication was given front page headline prominence with pictorial depiction of the plaintiff splashed on the front page,” the statement of claim submitted.
It added that the defendants were malicious in their publication of the words complained of and for that reason, must be stopped eternally by the court.