General News of Monday, 18 September 2017
The Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies, Mr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, Monday sought an adjournment of the case in which he is seeking to restrain The Multimedia Group from accessing information from some ministries, departments, and agencies.
Monday’s action vitiates from the businessman’s earlier notice of discontinuance served on the court indicating he was no longer interested in pursuing the injunction application.
Lawyers for Mr. Siaw Agyepong, had filed the application seeking to stop the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department as well as other ministries, departments and agencies from providing The Multimedia Group with information on his companies’ dealings with the state agencies.
The Multimedia Group, led by its investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni, was conducting a comprehensive investigation into questionable contracts which Mr. Siaw Agyepong’s companies had signed with the state.
When the Multimedia Group wrote to the ministries for answers to specific questions and contracts, Mr. Siaw Agyepong caused his lawyers to write to the ministries warning them against providing the information because he had sued Manasseh Azure Awuni for defamation over a Facebook post Manasseh wrote in January this year cautioning the NPP government against signing the kinds of contracts which the NDC government had signed with subsidiaries of the Jospong Group.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development sought the advice of the A-G’s department on whether or not it could go ahead and release the information despite the threats from Jospong. The Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department, after studying the writs and claims, said the ministry could go ahead and release the information, for it would not in any way prejudice the defamation suit in court.
Mr. Siaw Agyepong proceeded to court, seeking to place an injunction on the ministries from releasing the information.
On Friday, September 14, 2017, Mr. Agyepong’s lawyers filed a motion to discontinue the case, but they beat a U-turn on Monday due to what they described as latest developments in the matter.
Lawyers for Manasseh and The Multimedia Group were not served with the notice of discontinuance so they were in court. When the case was called, however, Mr. Siaw Agyepong’s lawyer said it was good they hadn’t received it because they (Mr. Agyepong and his lawyers) had changed their mind and intended to continue with the case. They sought an adjournment to the 18th of October, 2017 to prosecute their case.
But the lawyer for The Multimedia Group, Samson Lardy Anyenini raised an objection, arguing that even though he was yet to be served with a copy of the notice of discontinuance of the case, the fact that it had been filed meant that the case was ended.
He said if he had seen the motion, he would not have been in the court in the first place because there was no case after the discontinuation notice was filed.
The judge, however, adjourned the case to October 18.