General News of 2014-02-28

Court slaps Informer Newspaper GH¢300,000 for libel

An Accra Fast Track High Court has slapped the Informer Newspaper, GH¢ 300,000 in damages to a timber processing company, Evans Timbers.

The newspaper was sued over an article, “Why Evans Timbers Got Mpiani to Collapse One-Stop Collection Point”. It was deemed defamatory and injurious to the image of the timber firm, a court, presided over by Justice Uuter Paul Dery has established.

Published 13th January 2010, the article accused the then Chief of Staff in the Kufuor Administration, Kwadwo Mpiani of conniving with his friends at Evans Timbers to clear goods at the port without proper documentation and also under-invoiced.

According to the publication the act caused the government of Ghana to lose over $330,000.

The plaintiff, Evans Timbers argued that the publication caused serious damages to its corporate image and reputation as a timber processing and exporting company by being portrayed as guilty of subverting the national interest and causing financial loss to the state.

The company also said it lost foreign business opportunities by being portrayed as a dubious, dishonest and fraudulent entity.

But in a judgement on Tuesday February 4, 2014, His Lordship Paul Dery ruled that the Informer Newspaper did not state any facts upon which the malicious comments in the article were made, hence the decision to accordingly award Evans Timber a total of GH¢300, 000 in damages and cost.

A similar judgment on Thursday saw the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia awarded a GH¢ 250, 000 judgment after the Daily Guide Newspaper was found guilty of a similar offence.