SPIO DRAGS CHRONICLE TO COURT
Dr Ekwow Spio Garbrah, who is contesting the National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential primary is also seeking an order prohibiting the defendants, their agency or assigns from rendering such a malicious reportage or publication regarding the plaintiff or his campaign in any public political discourse.
He is further seeking an order directed at the defendant herein, their agents or assigns to cause a comeback to the current defamatory publication in the same medium and the manner so published, to restore the integrity and image of the plaintiff and his campaign.
And also for the defendant to present an official apology to the plaintiff and his campaign team and same publish by the first defendant.
In his statement of claim accompanying the writ filed on his behalf by George Tetteh Wayoe, his counsel, Dr Spio Garbrah said the defendants’ publication has gone wide and global and same has tarnished his reputation and political campaign for the NDC 2018 flagbearership race.
He contends that it is only the intervention of the Honourable Court for the defendants to make amends, would restore the political image and integrity of the plaintiff and his campaign. The following is the unedited version of the full writ.
STATEMENT OF CLAIM
- Plaintiff is a citizen of Ghana and a Presidential Aspirant in the upcoming NDC 2018 Flagbearership race for Ghana’ s Election 2020.
- 1st defendant is a private newspaper in Ghana.
- 2nd defendant is the Acting Editor of the 1st defendant.
- Plaintiff in his public service has served as a Government Minister in a couple of sensitive ministries like Education, Communications, Trade and Energy and also as Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States of America.
- That it was during the plaintiff’s service and hard work as Ambassador in the USA in 1994 therefrom that Ghana’s cordial ties with the USA blossomed, where President Rawlings had a record breaking 8 cities visitation in 10 days and which further culminated in the historic visit of President Bill Clinton of the USA’s visit to Ghana, where therefrom other US Presidents have followed such Presidential visitation to Ghana as a preferred destination to the Continent.
- The plaintiff as Minister for Education helped set up the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund); today the GETFund would forever be a great educational novelty for the sector for national development. Also, as Minister for Communications, the plaintiff chaired the skillful reintroduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT); a very critical tax regime that prudent management is all it takes and Ghana can reap from its operation for valuable revenue generation. And recently, as Trades Minister in the just gone government, led in the Made-In-Ghana Campaign for citizens to love our own and products made in Ghana. Thus, these and many other services to country assure the plaintiff and encourage him to seek to serve his country and to offer more for the good of the people.
- The plaintiff subsequently, believes that he has served his nation well and skillfully and currently, believes again that he could lead the biggest opposition party to gain political power to serve his motherland at the highest office of the land, and so has offered himself to his Party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for same.
- The plaintiff in line with political procedure officially launched his Flagbearer bid on Tuesday, the 16th day of October, 2018 and invited some media houses to cover same at the La Villa Boutique Hotel in Accra. And that at the launch, the plaintiff delivered his address for NDC delegates who would be voting at the election for the Flagbearer of the Party.
- The plaintiff after the event, had record on ALL media houses that graced the occasion to report on same as news. And that the defendants, that agent or assigns are not part of the media houses on record, as present on the day.
- The defendants herein, however, in the Vol. 27 No. 184 edition of their publication on Thursday, the 18th day of October, 2018 did publish some falsehood regarding some statements made by the plaintiff at his launch, and that the said publication is malicious an injurious, as it only seeks to harm and destroy the political image of the plaintiff in the upcoming election.
- The plaintiff presents that the said publication was not only made to the general public in a corner or obscured page but given full blown front page coverage, so it could gain mileage and cause greater damage to the political quest of the plaintiff.
- The particulars of the said mischievous publication by the defendants are provided in the front page caption of the 18th day of October, 2018 edition of the 1st defendant, herein below:
“SPIO FURIOUS @ NDC MPs… For boycotting campaign launch …if l win and you come to me for job, I will ask where were you…”
- The plaintiff presents that he has never been furious against anybody in his bid to seek a political office and would never do such a thing. And that, the reportage of the plaintiff being furious at NDC MPs for boycotting his launch, is unsubstantiated and a sensational fabrication.
- The core particulars of the plaintiff’s claim of defamatory presentation is in the 1st defendant’s reportage herein:
“If I win and you come to me for job, I will ask where were you”.
- The plaintiff presents that the plaintiff NEVER said the following Words in paragraph 14 above so attributed to him by the defendants. And that, the defendants were not even at the event and so plaintiff is marveled, how defendants gathered their information. And that the defendants’ recklessness is in the intention to generate sensational fabrications.
- The plaintiff humbly presents that the plaintiff’s actual words or statement made in the said address that touched on all former appointees of the previous NDC government and not only MPs would be tendered in Court as evidence during the trial of this matter to prove that the defendants’ publication is a falsehood and maliciously intended.
- The plaintiff sees the defendants’ publication as a calculated attempt by the defendants to damage his campaign and political fortunes right after the day of his launch, by generating unsolicited perception and anger amongst NDC MPs, who are not only delegates at the upcoming election but also opinion leaders in their Constituencies as Party leaders.
- The plaintiff has gathered that the defendants are sympathizers of the current Party in government and as a media house and a power within the fourth estate of the realm, use its mouth piece to do the bidding of the ruling Party. And that, the defendants see the plaintiff as a formidable candidate to lead the opposition NDC, and would go ahead to defeat the incumbent leader in a national poll, and so the defendants have set themselves on this path of reportage of the plaintiff’s events, to cause disaffection for the plaintiff within the plaintiff’s own Party, in order that the plaintiff does not get the blessing of all to be victorious to lead the NDC. And also that, at this moment the defendants as a media house in our times, could be used by the plaintiff’s political detractors anywhere, to achieve a similar purpose of creating disaffection for the plaintiff with such publications.
- The plaintiff presents that to the contrary, plaintiff acknowledged in his address that he was aware of the Constitutional provision requiring most Cabinet Ministers to come from among MPs and that same shall be respected by every President of Ghana and so all MPs were assured of playing leading roles in any NDC government to be formed by him. And that, the plaintiff knows that he can never form a cabinet under the current dispensation without working with MPs who would be in Parliament at the time he would be blessed to form a government and so can never dream of making such statements regarding MPs, who merit automatic appointments.
- The plaintiff presents that the defendants intentionally set out right after the resourced and tiresome launch, to denigrate the entire event by casting this huge hurdle on the shoulders of the plaintiff and his Campaign Team with this malicious reportage, which plaintiff’s Team would now have to spend some time to set the records straight at this crucial time of the Flagbearership campaign. And that, the defendants’ conduct is an act calculated to place the plaintiff in party scorn or ridicule and also, to reduce or lower him in the estimation of right thinking MPs and other members of the NDC as well as other Party sympathizers and the general public.
- The plaintiff presents that some media outlets go about their work diligently; however, it’s the few pro political ones, which in recent times create such media disorder among the citizenry and the nation via their political journalism. And that, this suit must not be seen as coming at the media but to address a case of dishonesty some industry players in the media deliberately put up, to denigrate some public figures for no just cause, and especially for political connotations. And it’s in this believe, that plaintiff would not pray the Court for any monetary Compensation for damages. And that, the suit is a wakeup call to the media landscape against some unprofessional conducts by some journalists and media houses in particular with such publication styles, which deliberately malign public figures sensationally for their intended purposes, including selling their news.
- The plaintiff humbly presents that the defendants’ publication has gone wide and global and same has tarnished his reputation and political campaign for the NDC 2018 Flagbearership race that, only an intervention by the Honourable Court for the defendants to make amends, would restore the political image and integrity of the plaintiff and his campaign.
WHEREFORE, the plaintiff claims against the 1st and 2nd defendants jointly and severely the following reliefs:
- A declaration that the defendants’ publication on Thursday, the 18th day of October, 2018 in the Vol. 27 No. 184 with regards to the Caption herein; ‘SPIO FURIOUS@ NDC MPs …For boycotting campaign launch…if I win and you come to me for job, I will ask where were you’, is defamatory and wrongful.
- An order prohibiting the defendants herein, their agents or assigns from rendering any such malicious reportage or publication regarding the plaintiff or his campaign in any public political discourse.
- An order directed at the defendants herein, their agents or assigns to cause a comeback to the current defamatory publication in the same medium and manner so published, to restore the integrity and image of the plaintiff and his campaign. And also for defendants to present an official apology to the plaintiff and his Campaign Team and same published by the 1st defendant.
- Administrative Cost for bringing this action including Lawyer’s fees.
- And any other order(s) this Honourable Court may deem fit
DATED THIS 19TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 2018 AT BCMS CONSULTING, 11 BONSU STREET, OFF ROYALT CASTLE ROAD, KOKOMLEMLE, ACCRA