General News of Saturday, 12 January 2019
The General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, appears to be running away from his own words, as he has filed an application to dismiss the GH¢15 million defamation suit brought against him by the Board Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Prof. Dua Agyeman.
The NDC scribe, who claims he has evidence and witnesses to support his allegations against the former Auditor General, is now praying an Accra High Court to dismiss the suit because it cannot rely on the English translations of the comments he made in the local dialect Twi.
Former Auditor General, Prof Dua-Agyeman, who is now the board chairman of the Audit Service, dragged Asiedu Nketia to court, demanding GH¢15 million over comments he (Asiedu Nketia) made on radio to damage his reputation.
The NDC scribe, popularly known as General Mosquito, has been accused of making slanderous statements against Prof. Dua-Agyeman.
Mr Asiedu Nketia alleged that Prof. Dua-Agyeman was fond of churning out fake audit reports based on which he was sacked by accountants association.
But in what could be described as delay tactics, his lawyer, Johnson Normesinu, moved a motion in court yesterday to pray the court to strike out the plaintiff’s pleadings and dismiss the suit on the grounds that the pleadings did not disclose any reasonable cause of action.
He argued that the court cannot rely on the English translations without having access to the original comments made in Twi which the plaintiff finds to be defamatory.
But private legal practitioner, Gary Nimarko, lead counsel for Prof. Dua- Agyeman, in a sharp rebuttal opposed the application, saying the court cannot dismiss the case because it has not been served with the original comments made in Twi.
According to him, Asiedu Nketia filed a counter claim to the suit in which he claimed that he had evidence and witnesses to confirm his statements.
This, he said, meant the authenticity of the translation is not in doubt, and if the court wants the comments in Twi attached, that can be done by issuing another writ rather than the court throwing out the case.
The court, presided over by Justice Sophia R. Bernasko-Essah, adjourned the matter to January 23, 2019 to give her ruling.
Statement of Claim
Prof. Dua-Agyeman, in his suit, averred that without basis or probable cause, Asiedu Nketia “ostensibly sought to impugn the integrity, dignity and reputation of the plaintiff and to ridicule him in the eyes of right-thinking members of society.”
The plaintiff contended that Asiedu Nketia, on October 2, 2018, made some unsubstantiated and disparaging statements on Accra-based radio station, Neat Fm accusing him of producing fake audit accounts in 1983 while he was at the Audit Service which led to his dismissal.
But the former Auditor General took exception to the comments, saying they generated several comments and media attention in Ghana and abroad ostensibly to tarnish his hard-won reputation.
Prof Dua-Agyeman averred that a letter authored by Prof Kwame Adom-Frimpong, President of Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) Council (ICAG) and dated 15th October, 2018, showed that he had been in good standing since 1978 and had never been banned.