The General Secretary of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia has won a libel case against the Daily Guide Newspaper.
The Court ruled Thursday February 27, 2014 that the Daily Guide and its Publishers pay Mr Asiedu Nketia Ghc250,000.
General Mosquito, as he is popularly called, sued Daily Guide and its publisher, Western Publication Limited for libel and malice publication against him and demanded exemplary damages cost of GH¢ 1 million.
He filed the case in March 2011 at the Fast Track High Court, after the Newspaper published a story in March 2 and 3, 2011 that suggested that the NDC General Secretary was siphoning state funds to construct a private house.
The publication was headlined “Asiedu Nketia’s Plush Mansion”.
The defendants were Fortune Alimi, Editor, Charles Takyi Boadu, reporter, Morgan Owusu, Ashanti Region Correspondent and Western Publication Limited, publisher of the Daily Guide’s newspaper.
In his statement of claim, Mr Asiedu Nketia said the words in the Headlines on the front page of the Daily Guide newspaper of the said date editions, together with the words contained on page 3 of the said editions meant that, he is a greedy, opportunistic and dishonest person who has been using his position as General Secretary of the ruling party wrongfully or dubiously to acquire two buildings in Oyarifa and Daaban Panyin respectively.
The Bui Hydro Dam Board Chairman also complained that the words in the publication meant that he used fraudulent means to acquire the buildings and is so ashamed that, he visits the place only in the night. Further, the words in the publications also mean that he is a corrupt person and is suspected to be using his position to unlawfully engage in corrupt practices.
On the issue of malice, the NDC General Secretary said, the defendants deliberately took a snap shot of a part of his Accra building and misrepresented same as another building belonging to him. He added that, the defendants also deliberately and maliciously concocted names of non-existent persons and supposed drivers who they claimed have personally seen the supposed building at Kumasi.
Mr Asiedu Nketia further argued that the article published in the Daily Guide was in a sensational manner and defendants knew or ought to have known that, the allegations were false, adding that a little investigation by the newspaper could had revealed that, the said Kumasi building was the same as the one in Accra.
He said, it is practically impossible to construct the supposed Kumasi building in six months and it was also easy for the defendants to ascertain the owner of the one at Daaban Panyin from the occupants.
He added that, the Oyarifa building is for him and it was built from legitimate sources and he owns it as a result of hard work.
He further contended that, the defendants published the said words in the knowledge that, they were reckless and libelous. He said, unless restrained by court, the defendants would continue to publish the said words about him.