An Accra Fast Track High Court has asked the Informer Newspaper to pay Three Hundred Thousand Cedi (GHC 300,000) in damages to a timber processing company, Evans Timbers.
The court, presided over by Justice Uuter Paul Dery found the “Informer” Newspaper guilty of publishing a defamatory and malicious article about the company on 13th January 2010.
The said article was captioned “Why Evans Timbers Got Mpiani to Collapse One-Stop Collection Point”. The story among other things, accused the then Chief of Staff in the Kufuor Administration, Kwadwo Mpiani of conniving with his friends at Evans Timbers to clear goods at the port without proper documentation and also under-invoiced.
According to the publication the act caused the government of Ghana to lose over Three Hundred and Thirty Thousand dollars ($330,000).
The plaintiff, Evans Timbers argued that the publication caused serious damages to its corporate image and reputation as a timber processing and exporting company by being portrayed as guilty of subverting the national interest and causing financial loss to the state.
The company also said it lost foreign business opportunities by being portrayed as a dubious, dishonest and fraudulent entity.
But in a judgement on Tuesday February 4, 2014, His Lordship Paul Dery ruled that the Informer Newspaper did not state any facts upon which the malicious comments in the article were made, hence the decision to accordingly award Evans Timber a total of GHC300, 000 in damages and cost.
A similar judgment on Thursday saw the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia awarded a Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Cedi (GHC250, 000) judgment after the Daily Guide Newspaper was found guilty of a similar offence.