Hackman secures GHC800,000 judgment against Daily Post

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Hackman Owusu Agyemang

An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Norvisi Aryine has ordered the Daily Post newspaper to retract by means of a front page publication a defamatory story written against board Chairman of the COCOBOD .

The court further awarded a cost of GH¢800, 000.00 against the newspaper.
Delivering the judgment Tuesday July 25, 2017 Justice Aryine held that the publications made by the 1st Defendant (Managing News editor of the Daily Post) Michael Dokosi on his Facebook timeline on the 23rd July 2015 injured the person of Mr. Agyemang.



In that publication, Mr. Dokosi alleged the COCOBOD board chairman secretly recorded a meeting involving former President Kufuor and leaked same.

The court therefore ordered a retraction and apology of the said defamatory publication within two weeks by Mr. Dokosi, Haruna Mahama, a former student leader and Giraffe Publications Limited.

Background

Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, a former minister in Kufuor’s administration, 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, prayed 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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