Daily Guide reporter, Morgan Owusu, has fled town and relocated to the United States of America (USA) after his fabricated story landed the newspaper in a ¢2.65 billion (GH¢265,000) cost for libel, without informing Management of his trip.
The reporter is said to have abandoned his Managing Editor and the Editor of the newspaper, Gina Blay and Fortune Alimi in the dock to provide answers to questions on his concocted story, which claimed General Secretary for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, had amassed enormous illegal wealth and is acquiring properties across the country.
Mr. Morgan, who was based in Kumasi, from where he reported that Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah, had put a luxurious house, is said to have appeared in court only once, throughout the three year trial, which had the owner of the pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) Daily Guide newspaper , Freddie W.A Blay as the defence lawyer.
Mr. Morgan is believed to be cooling off in Cranbury-New Jersey, as the lawyers of the NDC General Secretary have told The Herald, that they were moving to execute the ¢2.65 billion judgment obtained from the Accra High Court.
It was explained that ¢2.5 billion (GH¢250,000) was for damages awarded Mr. Asiedu-Nketiah, whilst ¢150 million (¢15,000) was awarded to him as cost to settle his legal fees. He had demanded ¢100 billion.
The lawyers from Law Trust, intend attacking properties including houses, cars, computers, television sets among others to settle the damage slapped on the newspaper, as a result of the reporter’s reckless journalism.
It is unclear the duration of Mr. Morgan’s American visa and whether or not he has not over stayed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Asiedu Nketia, has vowed to demolish and put to waste any constructed edifice linked to his name.
The NDC scribe, told an Accra-based radio station that he feels embarrassed when people deliberately accuse him of milking the State to buy personal properties, including houses in London, Cuba, Accra and Kumasi, a fleet of 100 oil tankers in Kasoa, as well as a Petrol Filling Station in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Mr. Asiedu-Nketia, recently sued the Daily Guide for publishing libellous articles about him, claiming his used his position as a member of the Bui Power Authority to amass properties.
The paper, published two pictures of a house owned by Mr. Asiedu-Nketia, located at Oyarifa in Adenta in Accra, claiming they were two separate houses he had built in Accra and Kumasi.
But put to strict proof by the lawyer for Mr. Asiedu-Nketia, Samuel Cudjoe, Gina Blay and Fortune Alimi, Managing Editor and Editor of the paper respectively failed to provide evidence to support their claim.
The NDC General Secretary and his legal team, had admitted to owning the Oyarifa house, but said he acquired it through genuine means. He, however, denied ownership of the Kumasi mansion.
A Kumasi-based Mining Engineer by name Eric Darko and a supporter of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was in court to admit ownership of the house, which was under construction, saying that was his tenth, but smallest house in the Kumasi metropolis.
Eric Darko, is said to have dashed to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assemble (KMA)with his documents to confirm his ownership of the house, shortly after Mr. Asiedu-Nketia, had threatened to pull down the house, which had mischievously been linked to him by the Daily Guide.
Justice Abodakpi of an Accra-based High Court, awarded a sum of GH¢250, 000 in damages against the paper for failing to produce evidence of the claim that Mr. Asiedu-Nketia, had used his position to amass wealth and properties.
Although, he is yet to claim the money, he has vowed not to spare others who intentionally malign him.
“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, he openly fought away the drivers…this is how I intend to deal with all who try to accuse me wrongly,” he vowed.
According to the NDC Chief Scribe, who is also known as General Mosquito, since Daily Guide published the story, people in the Ashanti Region, have created a new bus stop called “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,” he recounted.
Meanwhile, claims are that story about the house was hatched at a Goil Filling Station in Kumasi, owned by a top NPP founding member in the Ashanti Region. Lots of reporters, were said to be present when the story was fabricated by officials of the opposition party, seeking to paint President John Mahama’s regime and elements within it as corrupt.
Mr. Freddie Blay, who is vying for the NPP Vice-Chairmanship slot in the forthcoming National Delegates Congress to be held in Tamale in the Northern Region, has announced that he would be appealing against the High Court decision in a Court of Appeal.