An Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice P.A. Ofori-Atta yesterday dismissed the GH¢1million defamation suit brought by Hassan Ayariga, flagbearer of the People’s National Convention (PNC) in the 2012 general elections, against David Apasera, the party’s National Treasurer.
The judge, in addition, awarded cost of GH¢1,500 against Mr Ayariga who failed to appear in court yesterday.
Hassan Ayariga had gone to court over claims by some members of the PNC including David Apasera that he had diverted GH¢1.6million meant for the party’s 2012 electioneering campaign and squandered it.
The trial judge ruled in favour of David Apasera, a former Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga, on grounds that the case lacked the basic ingredients required for the commencement of a defamation case.
He said, ‘In a case of defamation one needs to give sufficient particulars’ on the publication complained about so that the person being sued would know what the suit is about.
The ruling comes on the heels of an application filed by Eric Osei Mensah, counsel for Mr Apasera, that the suit should not be entertained because it lacked the basic ingredients needed for the commencement of a defamation case.
Mr Apasera had reportedly accused Mr Ayariga of misappropriating GH¢1.6million belonging to the PNC, meant for the 2012 elections, and gone to court for the retrieval of the money.
According to Justice Ofori-Atta, the writ was not in conformity with Order 56 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules (CI 47) which states that before a writ is issued for libel, it should state sufficient particulars on the cause of action.
He consequently dismissed the suit brought by the former PNC flagbearer and awarded cost against him.
At the last hearing, Mr Osei-Mensah prayed the court to dismiss the application against the former MP because the 2012 PNC flagbearer had failed to provide sufficient particulars of the publication in respect of which the action was brought to court.
However, Chris Ackumey, counsel for Hassan Ayariga, disagreed with him and said they had satisfied all the rules and provided copious and adequate particulars of the offending publications required for a defamation case.
The plaintiff, in his statement of claim, said on February 6, 2014, his family, friends, classmates and acquaintances all over the world called him about a defamatory story in the DAILY GUIDE, Crusading Guide and other newspapers which indicated that he had embezzled the said amount, being campaign funds meant for the 2012 elections.
He said the publications said he received the money on behalf of the party to be used to pay the PNC party agents who policed the elections, but according to Mr Apasera, the money had not been received.
In addition, he said, the publications further claimed two V8 Land Cruisers, pickups and other vehicles belonging to the party had been kept at his house as his personal belongings.
He further noted that the words used in the publications meant that he was a criminal who engaged in short-changing the party through stealing and fraud among other vices and maliciously kept monies and cars belonging to the party.
After the ruling, elated David Apasera told Citi FM, ‘He just wasted my time and fooled the public with his law suit.’
He advised Hassan Ayariga to go to school and study Politics, saying, ‘I have said earlier that if he wants to lead the PNC he has to get back to school and get himself refined. Nobody is going to pick a character like that who will go and mess up our names and create the impression that PNC is a party which has people who do not think.’
By Fidelia Achama
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