Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, a former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing in the erstwhile NPP government has sued three individuals including a pro-NDC newspaper editor for libel over the recent leaked tape at former President John Kufuor’s residence.
The no-nonsense former Minister is seeking GH¢5 million as aggravated damages from Haruna Mahama, an NPP activist; Michael Dokosi, Managing Editor of Daily Post; and Giraffe Publications Limited, publishers of Daily Post weekly newspaper.
According to the plaintiff, who are led by Kulendi @ Law as his counsel, the defendants had published that “Hackman Owusu-Agyemang leaks audio of meeting at Kufour’s residence,” and he deemed it defamatory.
The plaintiff said the whole defamatory story started from Haruna Mahama who allegedly posted on his Facebook page (a social media platform) and the same story was subsequently widely circulated by Daily Post through its Managing Editor and publishers.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang is seeking a declaration that the statement posted on Haruna Mahama’s Facebook Timeline on July 23, 2015 that he (Hackman) leaked the tape and subsequently published by Daily Post the next day is defamatory.
He wants damages for libel in the sum of GH¢5,000,000, an order for perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further publishing similar statements about him.
Additionally, the plaintiff is also asking for an order of Mandatory Injunction compelling the defendants to retract the said ‘defamatory statements’ and render unqualified apology to him in three consecutive editions in the various platforms used by the defendants as well as cost and any order the court might deem fit.
Statement of claim
In his the statement of claim, Mr. Owusu-Agyemang said outlined his professional carear and political journey including working for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UN/FAO) as well as being MP for New Juaben North from 1997 to 2013.
He also averred that he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs (2001 - 2003), Minister of the Interior (2003 - 2004) and subsequently Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing from 2005 – 2007 and also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sikelele Company Limited and East Legon Pharmacy Limited in his private capacity.
According to the plaintiff, on July 23, Harumna Mahama “falsely and with intent to cast a slur on the plaintiff and damage his hard earned reputation” wrote and published and caused to be circulated on his Facebook timeline statements he deemed defamatory.
The plaintiff said that the defendant had said to the effect that the meeting organized by former President Kufuor inviting some leading clergies to broker peace in the NPP was leaked by Mr. Owusu-Agyemang.
He said the said defamatory story by Haruna Mahama “was further published and given more disparaging wording” by Michael Dokosi on the Daily Post of July 24 with the banner headline “Leaked Tape of secret meeting in Kufuor’s house Haruna fingers Hackman…as Otabil, Palmer Buckle & Nyansafueeeiii disgrace themselves.”
According to the plaintiff, the publication was discussed extensively on all major radio stations and Haruna Mahama “bent on destroying the plaintiff’s reputation was called on his statements and there again scandalously repeated his malicious statements,” and further dared Mr. Owusu-Agyemang to go to court.
The plaintiff said on July 25, Haruna Mahama “with a malicious motive to further spitefully malign the plaintiff and in desperate attempt to injure and tarnish the enviable reputation of the plaintiff,” further published on his Facebook timeline, defending his statements.
Mr. Owusu-Agyemang said “the publication and the statements contained were calculated to cause hatred and to disparage, ridicule and injure the plaintiff’s reputation in Ghana and internationally ; his work and/or business and that of his family in the minds of the right thinking members of the society.”
He said per the publication, his role as a senior member of the NPP as well as his relationship with former President Kufuor and that of the current flagbearer “has been seriously undermined.”
He said unless restrained, the defendants especially Haruna Mahama will continue to write, publish similar words defamatory of the plaintiff.