Former Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah has filed an action at the High Court against the Multimedia Group over what she says are several publications by the media house that defamed her by way of inference.
In her statement of claim filed on her behalf by her lawyer, Victoria Barth, indicated as follows; “On 8 August 2023, the Special Prosecutor filed an application in the Financial and Economic Crime Division of the High Court to confirm both the seizure of the sums of money taken from the Abelemkpe matrimonial home and the freezing orders against her bank accounts.
Grounds for defamation
“Although the application (of the OSP) did not disclose any information about specific amounts of money found in her (Ms Cecilia Dapaah’s) bank accounts, the Defendant’s (Multimedia) news outlet, JoyNews, published false information about the amounts in Ms Cecilia Dapaah’s accounts while ascribing the information to nameless, unidentified, and unverifiable sources.
“Specifically, at about 12:30pm on 10 August 2023, JoyNews published a news article titled “OSP tracks $5m, finds GHc 48m in Cecilia Dapaah’s Prudential Bank accounts”. In that article, JoyNews proceeded to publish that, sources at the Office of the Special Prosecutor had disclosed amounts of money in the frozen bank accounts of Plaintiff and mentioned that other monies had been found in another account.
“Again, at about 2pm on 10 August 2023, the Defendant’s outlet, JoyNews shared multiple stories titled “Joy News Prime // Cecilia Dapaah Case: OSP tracks $5m in total bank transactions over a period” and JoyNews Today // OSP finds $5million and Ghc48milion in Cecilia Dapaah’s bank accounts” on the social media platform YouTube.
“Not only had the Office of the Special Prosecutor not disclosed any amounts found in her accounts, but the assertion that the Plaintiff’s accounts contain $5m and GHC48m is false” lawyers for madam Cecilia Dapaah posited in the statement of case.
“Indeed, at about 4pm of that same day, 10 August 2023, the Office of the Special Prosecutor via one of its verified social media handles “Office of the Special Prosecutor – Ghana, @ospghana” rebutted and dispelled claims that it had revealed any specific amounts of monies found in Ms Dapaah’s bank accounts.
“Despite this rebuttal, at about 7pm of 10 August 2023, JoyNews continued to post material alluding to the false statement that $5m and GHc 48m had been found in Cecilia Dapaah’s bank accounts. The consistent reportage and peddling of falsehood by the Multimedia group and its news outlets evoked a feeling of enmity, distaste, and animosity of the Plaintiff in the eyes of the public.
“Multimedia’s defamatory statements have resulted in the undesirable and negative interpretation in the minds of right-thinking individuals about Ms Dapaah’s character and personality. It has also caused injury to Madam Dapaah’s hard-won reputation.
“Multimedia’s reportage of false information caused close friends and members of the public from various backgrounds to contact her, inquiring about the source of the reported sums of money and expressing disappointment that she had not extended generosity to her close associates. Others also ridiculed and accused her of wrongdoing on various media platforms” lawyers of Cecilia Dapaah further stated in the statement of the case.
Ms Dapaah’s lawyer explained that in spite of giving the Multimedia group an opportunity to retract the publication and apologize, particularly, after the OSP debunked the publication which was sourced to it, the media company has failed to do so since 11 August 2023 to date.
“From the foregoing, the Multimedia Group and its news outlets have defamed madam Cecilia Dapaah by way of innuendo” lawyers of Ms Dapaah observed in their statement of claim filed at the registry of the general jurisdiction high court on 29 September 2023.
Ms Dapaah according to the statement of claim is asking for six (6) specific declarations and orders from the court.
First, a declaration that JoyNews’ multiple stories titled “Joy News Prime // Cecilia Dapaah Case: OSP tracks $5m in total bank transactions over a period” and “JoyNews Today // OSP finds $5million and Ghc48million in Cecilia Dapaah’s bank accounts” on the social media platform YouTube are false and defamatory to the Plaintiff (Cecilia Dapaah).
“Secondly, Ms Dapaah is asking for general damages for the injury to her reputation.
“Thirdly, exemplary damages for the reckless and malicious reportage,
“Fourth, an order of perpetual injunction restraining Multimedia Group and its news outlets from publishing any further defamatory material about Ms Dapaah.
“Fifth, a retraction and apology by Multimedia Group and its news outlets with the same means, coverage, and prominence with which the defamatory publications were published and lastly, any other order(s) that the court may deem fit”.
Credit: Asaase Radio
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