Court fines reporter GH¢33,000.00 for defamation
A Bolgatanga Magistrate Court, presided by Mr Osman Abdul-Hakeem has slapped a GH¢33,000.00 fine on Mr Edward Adeti, the Upper East Regional correspondent for Starr Fm, a private media station based in Accra for publishing a defamatory report against one Madam Hajira Ibrahim.
The court ordered the defendant (Mr Adeti) to compensate the plaintiff, Madam Hajira Ibrahim in the sum of GH¢20,000.00 “for the defamation caused the plaintiff based on the comments and publication of same comments around the January 29, 2017 on A1 Radio, (a local radio station based in the Bolgatanga Municipality) and affiliate stations across the country”.
Mr Adeti who was not in court, was further ordered by the court to compensate the plaintiff for natural damages for defamation in the sum of GH¢10,000.00, and a cost of GH¢3,000.00 was also awarded against the defendant.
It would be recalled that Mr Adeti, on January 29, 2017 published a story on the station’s website captioned “Missing Vehicles: UER health boss begs; car found at residence,” and a sub-headline “Starr investigates Ghana Essential Health Intervention Project (GEHIP) reportedly given to wife”, sought to suggest that Madam Ibrahim, wife of the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services at the time, Dr Kofi Issah was “unduly” given an official vehicle meant for GEHIP.
The said story claimed in part that “Sources within the Upper East Regional Health Directorate hinted Starr News in October, 2016, that Dr Issah had unduly given out to his wife an official project vehicle, a grey pickup meant to ‘sustain the gains made’ under the Ghana Essential Health Intervention Project (GEHIP)”.
Madam Ibrahim, unhappy about the publication, filed a suit against the reporter in court for defamation around the same time the publication was made.
The judge, presiding, said he found the defendant (Mr Adeti) liable of all reliefs sort by the plaintiff and ordered the reporter to retract the story within 72 hours and air same through the medium first used.
Mr Abdul Hakeem said “Understandably, the court came to this conclusion based on the facts established”.
Madam Ibrahim told the Ghana News Agency after the judgement that she was happy with the court’s decision.