General News of Thursday, 27 July 2017
A former New Patriotic Party (NPP) activist Mahama Haruna, has said that he prefers going jail to paying Mr . Hackman Owusu Agyemang a pesewa as ruled by an Accra Fast Track High Court.
According to Mahama Haruna, he is already started psyching his crying wife over the possibility of him being jailed because he has no money to pay Mr Hackman but according to him being jailed for free speech cannot dent his image.
“Should I be jailed I will tell my children I did not engage in any criminal act and have never engaged in any fraud. I will let them know I was jailed by someone who is more powerful than the courts of Ghana just for making a harmless Facebook post that mentioned his name. How can a Facebook comment form the basis to construct criminal or civil liability”, he asked.
An Accra High Court has ordered Mr Mahama Haruna and publishers of the Daily Post newspaper and its editor, Michael Dokosi, to pay an amount of GH¢ 800,000 to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Board Chairman, Hackman Owusu Agyeman.
The amount was awarded as damages for a defamatory publication against him.
However Mr Mahama Haruna speaking to mynewsgh.com in his first interview after the judgment said he disagrees completely with the judgment and that it is not proper for the courts of Ghana to be giving damages to destroy the freedom of the press and of speech.
He said many people are surprised a Facebook post will result in such a whopping amount being slapped on them and that it is the first time a Facebook post is being used to demand damages.
According to Mahama Haruna, the judge did not consider their plea for reasons that still baffles them.
“How can someone who has been appointed as Chairman of COCOBOD say his reputation has been damaged? Is the court saying that President Nana Akufo-Addo has appointed someone whose reputation has been damaged? The issue is a political one. Some elements in the NPP have targeted me for long because I was one of them but decided to support former President John Dramani. I am not surprised at the judgment considering the interest in the case by some NPP gurus as well as the posture of some heavy weights of the ruling party. I understand I’m the person with the loudest voice from the Gonja area where former President John Dramani Mahama hails from. There is a lot I can’t say for now”; he lamented.
Mr Mahama Haruna said they will file a stay of execution and will definitely appeal the case because the judgment did not take the accounts of the defense properly.
“I understand that most cases like this are quashed by the appellate court of appeal and the Supreme Court on further appeal for lack of jurisdiction, want of jurisdiction, capricious and malicious prosecution, patent error of the law and breech of natural justice. The Appeals Court may be prima facie entitled to grant us judicial relief since there is an intent element of witch hunting, ambushed litigations and possible procedural impropriety”; he concluded.
Haruna revealed that his father (Alhaji Mahama Salifu) is the founding father of NPP in the Northern Region and was NPP Chairman for Bole-Bamboi for many years until his demise
According to him, he himself served the NPP in various capacities and was the youngest delegate at the Congress that elected the late Professor Albert Adu Boahen Presidential Candidate.
He became NPP Secretary for Bole-Bamboi and later worked at the NPP Headquarters a Special Assistant to the late NPP National Chairman Jake Obetsebi- Lamptey and now a staunch sympathizer of former President John Dramani Mahama.