A former Auditor-General, Professor Edward Dua Agyeman, has filed a motion for default judgment against the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, in a defamation suit against the NDC scribe.
This follows the failure of Mr Nketia to make an appearance at the Accra High Court in the defamation suit in which Professor Dua Agyeman is seeking GH¢15million in damages.
The application for judgment in default of appearance was filed by counsel for the plaintiff, Mr Gary Nimako Marfo, last Friday, after the NDC General Secretary failed to appear before the court despite an order for substituted service by the court.
On November 8, 2018, Justice Sophia R. Bernasko-Essah, granted the order for substituted service which meant that Mr Asiedu Nketia should be served with a copy of the suit via the media and the notice boards of the court for 14 days after he failed to avail himself to be served.
In the application for judgment in default of appearance, the plaintiff contends that the time limit required by the rules of court for the defendant to make an appearance had lapsed.
“In the circumstances, this is a proper case where the Honourable Court ought to enter final judgment in default of appearance in favour of the plaintiff,’’ it said.
The defamatory suit is in connection with Mr Asiedu Nketia’s comments in the media to the effect that Prof. Dua Agyeman having generated fake audit reports resulting in him being sacked by the Institute of Chartered Accounts Ghana.
Prof. Dua Agyeman, who is the Chairman of the Audit Service Council, is arguing that the allegation 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.
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 Accounts (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.
General damages and compensatory damages in the sum of GH¢15 million for loss of reputation is also being sought against the defendant.
Writer’s email: emma.hawkson@graphic .com