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26 July 2017

Hackman suit: Dokosi, Daily Post to file appeal against GHS800k damages

The Publishers of the Daily Post newspaper and its editor, Michael Dokosi say they will file an appeal against the decision of an Accra High Court ordering the payment of GHc 800,000 to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) board Chairman, Hackman Owusu Agyeman.

“We are now going to sit down and we are looking at the options. Off course we will continue to plead with him, because Mr. Hackman has done nothing wrong to us, and we also don’t have any personal benefit of injuring him. And we’ll just continue to insist that we just reported what somebody has said that this is what is happening.”

Editor of the newspaper told Kasapa 102.5 FM they were “extra careful in their publication” but the Judge in his ruling “did not see it this way, so we can only go on appeal”

An Accra High Court has ordered publishers of the Daily Post newspaper, its editor, Michael Dokosi, and one Haruna Mahama to pay an amount of GHc 800,000 to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) board Chairman, Hackman Owusu Agyeman.

The amount was awarded as damages for a defamatory publication against him[Hackman].

 The court made the order after it found them guilty of defaming Mr. Owusu Agyeman.

The Daily Post is ordered to do an express publication within 2 weeks on its frontpage of the retraction and apology to Hon. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang.

Background

Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, a minister in Kufuor’s administration, has sued the managing editor of the Daily Post, a weekly newspaper, and two others at the Accra High Court for libel and defamation of character.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang, who held several ministerial posts in that government, is praying the court to award damages of libel against the three defendants in the sum of GH¢5 million

The former minister is also asking the court for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants from further writing, printing and publishing any words and statements defamatory of the plaintiff.
Three defendants

The three defendants are the Managing Editor of the Daily Post, Mr Michael Dokosi, a former student leader, Mr Haruna Mahama; and the Publishers of the Daily Post, Giraffe Publications Limited at Community Four, Tema.

According to the statement of claim, Mr Owusu-Agyemang averred that on July 23, Mr Mahama, the first defendant, falsely and with an intent to damage his hard-earned reputation, wrote on his Facebook wall, a social media platform, the headline, “Mr Agyemang leaks audio of meeting at Kufuor’s house.”

He further went on to say that the motive of the plaintiff, “Old bone in NPP politics could perhaps be to embarrass former President Kufuor.’’

Recording

The posting on the same Facebook wall also accused Mr Owusu-Agyemang of being the source of the Osafo Marfo recording and leaks.

The defamatory statement, according to the statement of claim by Mr Owusu-Agyemang’s lawyer, Yoni Kulendi, was also published and given a more disparaging wording by the second defendants in the Volume 5, issue No.1500, Friday, July 24 edition of the Daily Post with a front page headline, “Leaked tape of secret meeting in Kufuor’s house, Haruna fingers Hackman……’’

According to the statement of claim, the Daily Post went on to publish, ‘’Hackman is not only the one who leaked the tape but is also the one distributing.’’

Reputation

In consequence, the plaintiff is saying that his reputation and his role as a senior member of the NPP as well as his relationship with the former President and that of the current flag bearer have been seriously undermined by the publication.

The plaintiff is, therefore, praying the High Court to make claims against the defendants jointly and severally, damages for libel in the sum of GH¢5 million.

The plaintiff is also praying the court for an order of mandatory injunction compelling the defendants to retract the said defamatory statements and render an unqualified apology to be published on the first defendant’s Facebook timeline and front pages of the Daily Post newspaper where the second defendant is the editor and published by the third defendant in three consecutive editions.

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