AN ACCRA Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Ofori-Atta has ordered Kobby Fiagbe, editor of the pro-NDC newspaper, The Ghanaian Lens, to pay an amount of GH¢68,000 to former Defence Minister Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, who had sued him for defamation.
The court ordered the editor to pay GH¢60,000 as damages and GH¢8,000 as costs.
The former minister had filed a defamation case against the journalist for pronouncing on Adom FM, an Accra-based radio station, that he (Dr Addo Kufuor) was one of the New Patriotic Party leaders who received 20 percent of contract sums as kickback.
The former minister filed the defamation suit on February 28, 2012, praying the court to declare that the statement made by the editor was reckless and defamatory and also award damages against the editor for tarnishing his image.
The former minister also prayed the court to order Mr. Fiagbe to retract the said statement five times.
However, Justice Ofori-Atta ordered him and his Lens paper to retract the said statement three times in addition to the payment of the money.
Dr. Addo Kufour, in his suit, narrated that on November 25, 2011, Adakabre had an interview with Kennedy Agyapong, the New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Assin Central, and Mr. Fiagbe called in to the programme, saying in the Twi language that he was surprised that Mr. Agyapong did not know that the NPP government demanded and received 20 percent of all contracts as kickback.
He allegedly further mentioned that such conduct had earned Dr. Addo Kufuor the name “Mr. 20 Percent “.
Before the interview, Mr. Fiagbe had reportedly published that Dr. Addo Kufuor had transferred United Nations account of the Armed Forces pay office to his office.
This publication and others from other media networks seemed to corroborate an earlier news report that Dr. Addo Kufour was the richest man in Ghana when that allegation was false.
According to Denis Adjei Dwomoh, the lawyer for the applicant, before the Minister initiated the action, he first wrote to Mr. Fiagbe and Adom FM to do a retraction. Adom obliged but the Lens and its editor, Mr. Fiabge never did.
Following this, Dr. Addo Kufuor caused his lawyers to sue the Ghanaian Lens editor. They could however not get him to serve him a copy of the writ.
In view of that, the lawyers did a substituted service through a publication in the Daily Graphic.
Later, Mr. Fiagbe reportedly entered appearance through his lawyer, Kakra Essamuah, but never showed up in court.
Mr. Fiagbe, when he entered the appearance, failed to provide occupational and residential address and the court, after a motion from the lawyers, gave him seven days to do that, but again he disobeyed the court order.
On May 30, the court gave an interlocutory judgment in favour of Addo Kufuor, but adjourned the matter to June 18, 2012 for assessment of the damages.
The said assessment was done on January 28 and yesterday the court entered the judgment.
Source: Mary Anane
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