General News of Wednesday, 17 July 2019
Online news portal Peacefmonline.com has rendered an unqualified apology to the former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Opuni after republishing a malicious story against him.
“We do hereby unconditionally and unreservedly retract the republication,” it posted on its website.
The online portal posted a story originally published by pro-government newspaper, the Ghanaian Observer, concerning a fertilizer involving Agricult Ghana Limited.
In its Volume 14, No. 018 of Monday, 18th February – Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, The Ghanaian Observer had reported under the caption “COCOBOD FLOORS OPUNI, SEIDU AGONGO – Saves Almost $50m In Shady Fertilizer Deal”, which it accused Dr. Opuni of colluding with a scientist at Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) to defraud the state.
Dr. Opuni who described the report as “false and evil” sued The Ghanaian Observer newspaper and Despite Group of Companies for defamation in February 2019, praying for general and exemplary damages of GH¢10,000,000.00.
But the Despite Group has admitted failing to ascertain the veracity of the Ghanaian Observer’s story before reproducing it, and therefore apologized and retracted the publication.
Find the retraction below
On the 18th February 2019,www.peacefmonline.com republished a story titled “COCOBOD Floors Opuni, Seidu Agongo – Saves Almost $50m in Fertilizer Deal” which was sourced from THE GHANAIAN OBSERVER newspaper, in its Monday, 18th February 2019 publication.
Peacefmonline failed to confirm the veracity of the content of the story and omitted to contact Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni to confirm the truthfulness of the said story or ascertain the veracity of the story which was on the award of the arbitral tribunal between Agricult Ltd and COCOBOD before republishing same. In this regard, the republication of the said story is most regrettable. a We do hereby unconditionally and unreservedly retract the republication.
We further solemnly and unreservedly apologize for any harm, damage or loss suffered in consequence thereof to the person of Dr Stephen Opuni, including any dissaffection made towards him.
Signed Editor, Peacefmonline.com
It is however not clear, if Dr. Stephen Opuni will discontinue the court case against the Despite Group of Companies following the apology and retraction.