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Chief of Staff files GHC20 million defamation suit against Herald newspaper

It follows a publication carried in the 3 August edition of the newspaper headlined, ”More rot emerge from BOST with Chief of Staff named again”

The Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, has filed a defamation suit seeking compensatory damages of GHC20 million, against the Prime Mark Company Limited, owners of the Herald newspaper and its Managing news editor, Larry Alans Dogbey.

The Chief of Staff, in a letter dated 10 August 2022, gave the publishers a 24-hour ultimatum to retract and apologise for a defamatory publication against her by the newspaper.

The newspaper failed to retract as directed by the chief of staff.

Contention of plaintiff

According to the statement of claim filed by lawyer for the Chief of Staff, Gary Nimako, “the Plaintiff (Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare reads the Defendants’ (Prime Mark Company Limited and Larry Alans Dogbey) headline with her picture stating that “More Rot Emerge from BOST with Chief of Staff Named Again!” to mean that she is a person who engages in dishonest/illegal activities at BOST”.

“The Plaintiff understands the Defendants’ statement that “The Herald is informed about some fraudulent disposal of some cars belonging to BOST”.

“The cars were disposed off under mysterious circumstances after an auction was halted midway in the name of the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Akosua Frema Osei-0pare” to mean that she is criminally minded and engages in fraudulent transactions” the Statement of case read.

“The Plaintiff says that the defamatory statements were made without any just cause and were intended to cause her public ridicule, disaffection and to reduce her image in the eyes of right thinking members of society both in Ghana and abroad”.

“Plaintiff avers that the said publication has portrayed her as a person who encourages the commission of criminal and illegal activities and that same was calculated to injure her reputation and also expose her to hatred, public ridicule, damage to her person, profession and lower her estimation in the eyes of right-thinking members of society” lawyers of the Chief of Staff further stated.

Reliefs sought

To this end, the Chief of Staff is praying the High Court to grant her 7 reliefs. First, she is seeking a declaration that the Defendants’ publication as particularized in the statement of Claim with the headline ” More Rot Emerge from BOST with Chief of Staff Named Again!” is defamatory of the Plaintiff and same was made without any basis.

Second, “a declaration that the Defendants’ publication as particularized in the statement of Claim that “The Herald is informed about some fraudulent disposal of some cars belonging to BOST. The cars were disposed off under mysterious circumstances after an auction was halted midway in the name of the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Akosua Frema Osei-0pare” is defamatory of the Plaintiff and same was made without any basis”.

Third, “a declaration that the Defendants’ publication as particularized in the statement of Claim that “The cars were disposed off under mysterious circumstances after an auction was halted midway in the name of the Chief of Staff in the office of the President, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare” is defamatory of the Plaintiff and same was made without any basis”.

Fourth, “an Order of injunction directed at the Defendants, agents, assigns, privies from continuing to make any further defamatory publication about the Plaintiff”.

Fifth, “an Order of Court directed at the Defendants to retract the said defamatory publication and render unqualified apology in the same prominence as the defamatory publication.

Sixth, “compensatory damages in the sum of Twenty Million Ghana cedis (GHe20,000,000.00) for loss of reputation against the Defendants” and lastly,” costs including legal fees”.

Wilberforce Asare

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