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Three newspapers retract libellous reports about Kevin Okyere

BY: Graphic.com.gh

Three newspapers have retracted reports reports on the Group Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Springfield Group of Companies, Mr Kevin Okyere, which were deemed libellous.

The papers are The New Statesman, The Herald and The Al-Hajj.

Their full retraction also comes with unreserved remorse by the papers for any inconvenience the offending publications might have caused Springfield and its CEO.

The retractions come after The New Statesman,The Herald and the Al-Hajj were sued GH¢30 million, GH¢10 million and GH¢10 million respectively by Mr Okyere and Springfield for defamation.

The suit, which was filed at an Accra High Court on September 30, 2015 was for general and exemplary damages for a headline published in the September 25, 2015 issue of the New Statesman.

Mr Okyere and Springfield Energy, who described the publication as defamatory of them, demanded costs, as well as an injunction restraining the defendants, “their agents or servants from further publishing or causing to be published any such defamatory or similar defamatory words of the plaintiffs”.

In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs averred that the defendants printed and published of the plaintiffs false, vicious, libellous and defamatory words.

In its retraction published in the Daily Graphic, The New Statesman said it had no evidence that Springfield’s dealings with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were not legitimately secured .

“We are hereby rendering a full retraction and unreservedly regret any inconvenience which our said publication might have caused Springfield and its CEO, Kevin Okyere,“ the paper added.

Click to read the New Statesman’s retraction in full

The Herald, in its retraction also published in the Daily Graphic on January 18, 2016 said:

“In our Wednesday September 30 to Thursday October 01, 2015 and Monday October 19 to Tuesday October 20, 2015, issues we carried front page headline stories titled “AKUFO-ADDO BETRAYS WIFE’S IN-LAW TO BUHARI… The Truth About His Nigeria Trip, Presdiential Meeting in Peduase Lodge & The New Stateman Newspaper’s Role and MORE TROUBLE FOR AKUFO-ADDO’S SON IN-LAW…UK Crime Agency Locates His £4.5 Million London Mansion, Wife Picked up for Money Laundering as Herald Takes His Dossier to court respectively.”

It said: “In the said story reference was made to the Plaintiffs. The said reference imputed that 1st Plaintiff had become the conduit by which officials of the former government of Nigeria were hiding monies they had stolen from Nigeria through fictitious oil deals, lodged in Ghanaian banks.”

The paper said it had also sought to create the impression that the former Nigerian Petroleum Minister, Ms Diezani Alison-Madueke, had become the epitome of corruption in Nigeria and had anchored and facilitated numerous money laundering scandals and deals.

“We have since the said publications found out the stories are inaccurate.

“In the premises, we hereby retract the said publications and apologise unreservedly to Mr Kevin Okyere and Springfield Energy Limited for the embarrassment the publications may have caused them,” the Herald stated.

For its part, the Al-Hajj, in a retraction published on January 28, 2016, apologised for its “misleading” publications about Mr Kevin Okyere.

The paper said: “We now fully appreciate the facts regarding Mr Kevin Okyere’s business dealings in Nigeria and we unreservedly wish to apologise to him, his family and/or company for publishing those misleading stories which among others suggested he was involved in shady deals.

“Whilst our actions were not actuated by malice whatsoever, we nevertheless wish to retract the stories wholly.”

“We once again, deeply regret any inconvenience or embarrassment our series of publications caused Mr Kevin Okyere, his family, and/or business,” the Al-Hajj added.