General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia is getting ready to bring before the Appeals Court a substantial counterclaim in demanding drastic increase of the Gh¢250, 000 awarded him in damages by an Accra High Court after winning a defamation suit brought by him against Daily Guide and its owners.
Hon Asiedu Nketia’s resolve, The Catalyst has learnt, has been provoked by the continues threats of appeal against the high court judgement by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Western Publications Limited, Hon Freddie Blay, who is also the lead counsel for Daily Guide.
A very close source has told this paper that Hon Asiedu Nketia will not be intimidated by the media gimmicks being employed by Hon Blay, to back off in his pursuit to clear his name from Daily Guide’s defamation agenda against him, which he described as the stock in trade of the pro-NPP newspaper.
The court awarded the NDC Chief Scribe GH¢250, 000 in damages against Daily Guide from a GH¢1, 000,000 claim he had made, for failing to substantiate the allegations against him.
The judge, in awarding the damages, also ordered the defendants to retract the publication by apologizing to Mr. Asiedu Nketia – to be published four times on the front page of the newspaper.
The court also awarded additional GH¢15,000 as cost for the NDC Chief Scribe.
‘No payment, ‘No apology’
Since the court ruling, which was expected to have brought closure to the 3-year long legal battle between the plaintiff and defendant, Hon. Freddie Blay, who has been ‘running his mouth’ profusely in the media, has vowed that his newspaper will not pay the court fine. As lead legal counsel and CEO of the company, unrepentant Blay has made Daily Guide’s position clear that the paper is not ready to obey the high court order because he intends appealing the judgement
He also bragged that his paper would not apologise to Hon Asiedu Nketia as has been ordered by the court, claiming that paper still stands by its publication.
He told Citi FM, an Accra-based radio station that the case was “one of the worst cases that I have come across. It’s so bad and I don’t believe that thing should have gone to court and we refuse to render any apology.”
‘We have appealed against it and I think that judgement shouldn’t have gone the way it went,” obviously frustrated Freddie Blay revealed on Citi FM. But The Catalyst checks show that Hon Asiedu Nketia’s lawyers are yet to be notified about any such move by the NPP vice chairmanship contestant and Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ellembelle Constituency in the Western region.
Daily Guide, in its publication of March 2, 2011 headlined: “Revealed! Asiedu Nketia’s Plush Mansions,” claimed he had built two plush mansions at Oyarifa in Accra and Daaban Panyin in Kumasi within a space of two years, but he felt slandered and decided to seek redress in court.
In another publication, the paper stated: “A controversy over the story emerged when DAILY GUIDE delved into widespread speculations over the ownership of some ‘mysterious’ mansions springing up all over prime locations in the country soon after the NDC assumed power in 2009.”
“The particular mansions were associated with Mr. Asiedu Nketia because residents claimed they did not know the owner of the building until they started seeing him frequenting the construction site when the work started. In the heat of the speculations, Mr. Asiedu-Nketia refused to respond to direct enquiries made to him by this paper on the said properties. Residents of Oyarifa told the paper that they were convinced the house belonged to him, given his frequent visits to the site.”
‘Dastardly Political Agenda’
According to our source, “Hon Asiedu Nketia is aware of a dastardly political agenda that has been hatched by some NPP elements in a grand agenda to portray leading members of the NDC as opportunistic and greedy. So he was not surprised about the false publication by Daily Guide, which is Freddie Blay’s newspaper, which you can describe as the biggest unofficial mouthpiece of the NPP in carrying out the party’s dirty work.”
The source alleged that every now and then, secret meetings are held by a group within the NPP to fabricate stories about NDC top guns and assign properties they do not have to their names in the media. The agenda, the source pointed out, is to court public resentment for them for pure political gain.
The source further said that Hon Asiedu Nketia feels embarrassed when people deliberately accuse him and other victims of this wicked agenda of taking advantage of their political position to amass wealth at the expense of the suffering masses of the people of Ghana. This, the paper has been told, requires drastic measures to curb.
On Okay FM on Wednesday, Hon Asiedu Nketia vowed to demolish and put to waste any edifice linked to his name. He said he feels embarrassed when people deliberately accuse him of milking the state to buy personal properties.
“Some tried to lie that I own a Gas station at Sunyani. All I did was to go out there and announce that every driver in Sunyani should go to that gas station for free petrol.
“When the real owner realized that people had moved their cars to his station to get free petrol, he openly fought away the drivers…this is how I intend to deal with all others who try to accuse me wrongly,” he vowed.
According to the NDC Chief Scribe, who is also known as General Mosquito, ever since the Daily Guide published the story about him, people in the Ashanti Region have created a new bus stop they call “General Mosquito Bus Stop”.
“The sad aspect of the story is that I live in Accra and do not have a property there. Someone also built stores at Madina and all of a sudden people started claiming its mine…Then at Kasoa, news started circulating that I own tipper trucks….I was at home one day when someone called me pleading that I lend him ten of my trucks. I became surprised and told him I don’t even own one.”