The caretaker Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Akuapem South, Mr Frank Aidoo has dragged Revealed Truth Properties, and two individuals Gloria Nyarko and Bridgette Ofosu-Sarkodee to the High Court or defamation.
Mr Aidoo, the Plaintiff, through his lawyers Kofi Addo and Associates, is seeking GH¢1 million from the defendants for damaging his hard-earned reputation through libellous letters and publications.
In his statement of claim against the Defendants jointly and severally, Mr Aidoo is seeking a declaration that a publication and words contained in the Defendants’ various letters dated 21st December, 2020, addressed variously to the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief Staff of the State Presidency, Jubilee House, the Press and the Eastern Regional Minister, and also published and carried by the website “GhanaWeb” are libellous and defamatory of the Plaintiff.
He is also seeking general damages against the Defendants for the said libellous and defamatory publication.
Consequently, the plaintiff is seeking special and aggravated damages of GH¢1,000,000.00 from the Defendants for the damage caused to his hard earned reputation and good standing in society.
He is also asking the court to order the Defendants to wholly retract the offending publications and letters and apologize to him through the same medium used by them in libelling him.
Additionally, the plaintiff is seeking “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants from continuing with, or carrying out any such further libellous and defamatory publication against the Plaintiff in any medium whatsoever.
“Cost, including Solicitor’s cost.
“Any order as this Honourable Court might deem fit”.
Below is the statement of claim:
1. The Plaintiff is a law abiding Ghanaian citizen residing at Kom, Ahwerase in the Akuapem South Municipality of the Eastern Region.
2. At all times material to the events giving rise to this suit, the Plaintiff was (and still is) the Municipal Chief Executive of the Akuapem South Municipal Assembly, having been appointed by the President of the Republic of Ghana, and overwhelmingly endorsed by the Assembly.
3. During his tenure as Municipal Chief Executive, the Plaintiff has admirably executed his duties and comported himself with decorum, commitment to duty, humility, respect for the rule of law, and has vigorously pursued a regime of law and order and efficiency.
4. The 1st Defendant is a company registered under the laws of Ghana and is engaged in estate development.
5. The 2nd Defendant styles herself as ‘Managing Director’ of the 1st Defendant and is the person whose name is under the offending letters containing the libellous words and addressed to the authorities referred to in the writ of summons and also published in the GhanaWeb.
6. The 3rd Defendant is the real owner of the 1st Defendant’s business and the one who had previously confronted land owners at the disputed area and who previously made a complaint to the Plaintiff about the difficulties she was having with the land owners and farmers at the area of her interest.
7. The 3rd Defendant (who is deliberately hiding behind the 1st and 2nd Defendants in order to conceal her involvement from her employers) is the main instigator of the defamatory assault on the Plaintiff.
8. Sometime ago the 3rd Defendant made a complaint to the Plaintiff that she and her company (1st Defendant) were being resisted from carrying out their business of estate development by farmers and land owners at Pokrom in the Akuapem South Municipal Assembly, because the farmers and land owners were laying adverse claim to portions of the land.
9. The Plaintiff as the Chief Executive of the area and Chairman of DISEC, convened a meeting of all the security chiefs in the Municipality to discuss the 3rd Defendant’s complainant with a view to resolving all issues and averting any security breaches or threat to the peace. This was because the farmers, who felt that the Defendants were using undue force and sleight of hand to dispossess them of their land by destroying their crops, were also adamant.
10. The Plaintiff took all necessary and reasonable steps to have the matter between the Defendants and the farmers/land owners amicably settled.
11. While the farmers/land owners complained that the Defendants were using force, threats and naked power to dispossess them of their land, the Defendants also complained that the farmers/land owners were unlawfully obstructing them from carrying out their legitimate project.
12. At no point did the Plaintiff take sides and all he did was to ensure that law and order prevailed and that the issue was settled by the appropriate legal authority.
13. The Defendants eventually sued some of the farmers/land owners at the High Court, Koforidua in a suit entitled: SUIT NO. C1/42/2021- REVEALED TRUTH PROPERTIES LTD & ORS VRS ADU KWADWO LAWAL & ORS.
14. In the said suit the Defendants referred to the effort made by the Plaintiff herein to resolve the issue between them and the farmers and stated at paragraph 16 of the statement of claim that “the District Chief Executive (Plaintiff herein) has even come in to help in resolving the matter.”
15. Without just cause or reason, and in an effort to curry favour from the powers that be, harvest undeserved sympathy and engage in unabashed trial by public opinion, with a clear intention to damage, ruin and destroy the image, personality and credibility of the Plaintiff, the Defendants, on 21st December, 2020, wrote several letters headed variously to the I.G.P, Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Eastern Regional Minister and the Press, accusing the Plaintiff of various acts of malfeasance and outright criminality.
16. The letter to the IGP is headed:
UNJUSTIFIED CONDUCT AND ABUSE OF POWER: USE OF POLICE TO THREATEN PEACE:
RE: HONOURABLE FRANK AIDOO.
(b) The said letter alleges among other things that the Plaintiff allegedly sent thugs to stop the Defendants’ workers from working, destroyed structures and assaulted them.
(c) The letter further alleges that the Plaintiff has used his influence to prevent the police from doing their work and even used them to assist the so called thugs to carry out further criminal activities.
17. The letter to the Chief of Staff, office of the President is headed:
UNJUSTIFIED CONDUCT AND ABUSE OF POWER
RE: HONURABLE FRANK AIDOO.
This letter basically repeated the false allegations contained in the letter to the IGP but also added that the plaintiff has alleged that “despite not owing the land, he will use his power to wrestle it out of our (Defendants) hands unless we (Defendants) heed to his threats and look elsewhere for a new land”.
18. The Press Release is headed:
LAND GRABING, ABUSE OF POWER AND MISCONDUCT BY HONOURABLE FRANK AIDOO MCE OF AKUAPEM SOUTH MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY. The content of this release is a combination of the false allegations contained in the Petition to both the IGP and Chief of Staff; this same letter appeared on the Ghanaweb page of 12th & 13th January, 2021.
19. The Plaintiff vehemently denies each and every allegation of impropriety, abuse of power, criminality and wrong doing imputed to him in those scurrilous letters referred to in the preceding paragraphs.
20. The Plaintiff shall state that the contents of the publications referred to above are false in every material particular and was published with the sole object of creating public disaffection for Plaintiff and exposing him to public ridicule, contempt, shame and opprobrium.
21. The Plaintiff shall state that by categorically stating that the Plaintiff sent thugs to intimidate, threaten, and assault workmen and destroying properties, the Defendants intended to and have succeeded in painting the Plaintiff as a warlord, a thug who commands and direct thugs, a criminal.
22. Plaintiff further avers that by stating that Plaintiff has used the police to do his bidding and also claimed that he would take the land of which he is not the owner away from the Defendants, the Defendant intended to and have succeeded in painting the Plaintiff as a power drunk despot, a philanderer, selfish and vindictive person.
23. By directing the letters to the Chief of Staff, the Defendants clear intention is to damage him in the eyes of his employer so as to cause him to lose his job as MCE or be glossed over when new appointments are made in the new government.
24. By making the false allegations to the IGP, the Defendants intended the Plaintiff to be arrested and prosecuted for criminal conduct of threat of death, unlawful damage and assault.
25. By widely publishing the false allegation in the press, the Defendants intended the Plaintiff be a subject of negative press and unfavorable public opinion showing that he is not fit to hold public office or any office of trust.
26. The Plaintiff shall contend that following the Defendants deliberate, vile, malicious and mischievous publication, the Plaintiff has received a constant barrage of phone calls, text messages, and e-mails from friends, colleagues, superiors, subordinates, foes and the general public, both home and abroad, asking embarrassing and provocative questions about his conduct, commitment to duty and credibility.
27. The Defendants published the false statements with malice aforethought, and tele-guided same to dent, crumble, and wipe away the respect, support and admiration of his employers, his constituents, family, friends and the general public.
28. The Plaintiff shall contend that the said false, malicious scandalous and libelous publication has gravely injured his reputation as a public servant, a private individual, family member, a church goer and he would be looked at with hatred, scorn, disdain and suspicion and it would take a yeoman’s effort to restore his credibility and trust in the eyes of the public
29. PARTICULARS OF SPECIAL DAMAGE
(i) Public Relations efforts through media, to repair damage to reputation – GH¢200,000.00
(ii) Compensation for injury – GH¢800,000.00
Caused by the false publication
30. The Plaintiff shall state that the action of the Defendants was deliberate, malicious, and reckless and was clearly intended to lower his esteem in the eyes of the ordinary man in the street and it has done exactly the same.