Chief Of Staff Sues Graphic for 100 Million Cedis
The Minister for Presidential Affairs, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey is demanding 100 million cedis in damages from the Daily Graphic for the publication of a story that said Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey’s company has been awarded a 1.9 billion cedi contract to renovate the Osu Castle.
The story added that the company is not registered. A letter from the Minister’s lawyers, M.A.F. Ribeiro and Associates, gave the newspaper up to Wednesday May 3,to pay the stated amount.
Failure to do so and also retract the story with an unqualified apology will result in other measures to seek redress. The letter described the allegation, attributed to the Minority Leader in Parliament Alban Bagbin as scurrilous and defamatory adding that it exposes the paper to a charge of malice.
Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey who has denied ownership of the company executing the Castle project, earlier threatened to sue the paper for civil libel.
GJA President On 100 Million Cedis Damages Against GraphicThe President of Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mrs. Gifty Affenyi Dadzie has described as unfortunate, the decision by the Chief of Staff to seek 100 million cedis as damages against the Daily Graphic.
According to her, although Act 1 section 3 of the GJA code of ethics enjoins practitioners to cross check information before publication, there are some news providers whose stories are considered as credible. In this particular instance, the Graphic considered the GNA as a credible source and thus used the story.
She however disclosed that although Jake Obetsebi Lamptey has the right to demand an apology from the Graphic, she finds the 100 million too expensive. “ I find the 100 million cedis very surprising judging from the promises by members of the government that they are going to uphold press freedom. I just don’t understand.”
Mrs. Affenyi Dadzie also said that she does not think the issue is a step in the right direction. “ We have come very far to promote press freedom and we cannot go back. I am therefore appealing to Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey to be more tolerant. I know how he feels but if this thing goes on then I’m afraid we are not going to get anywhere.”
Mrs. Affenyi however noted that the GJA, the Daily Graphic and other stakeholders will meet to see how best the issue can be resolved adding that an apology and a retraction of the story will be preferred to the 100 million cedis.