The Vice Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress, former Education Minister and former Member of Parliament for Jomoro, Mr. Lee Ocran and his wife, Mrs. Sati Ocran have sued a private radio station in Jomoro District, New Day FM and the ruling New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Deputy Secretary of Jomoro Constituency, Mr. Eric Muah for defamation.
In a writ issued by the Second High Court on September 5, 2017 said that the two Plaintiffs summoned Mr. Eric Muah the 1st Defendant for peddling falsehood about them through New Day FM.
The Plaintiffs also summoned New Day FM, the 2nd Defendant for allowing Mr. Eric Muah (1st Defendant) to use the radio station to make false and malicious statements against them without issued any disclaimer whatsoever.
“The President of the Republic of Ghana nominated the 1st Defendant as District Chief Executive for the Jomoro District but later failed to secure the required 2/3 votes of the total members of the Assembly present and voting on three conservative occasions”
” Following the events narrated in paragraph 5 of the writ herein the 1st Defendant granted an interview to the 2nd Defendant (New Day FM) on the 27th of July on their Morning Show Program”
“The interview was granted mainly in the Nzema language which is the predominant language of usage in the area of coverage of the station and also interspersed with the Fante and English languages”
“In the said interview the 1st Defendant made false and malicious allegations against the Plaintiffs and the 2nd Defendant published same freely without caution, restraint or any disclaimer whatsoever”
“The Plaintiffs procured a copy of the audio recording of the offensive interview and caused same to be transcribed into the Nzema language in its original form and further translated into the English language by the Bureau of Ghana Languages”.
PARTICULARS OF SLANDER
The following are extracts of the Radio Interview between 1st Defendant and the Radio Presenter (RP) on the Morning Show program containing the defamatory words;
1. “Some are here Jomoro, he served on the seat as MP and he lost. He thinks that because they did not allow him to continue on the seat for six years, or twelve years… So to him, if it were not him, then it should not be any other person.”
2. “So had it occurred to him, that the people of Jomoro loved a white person he would have offered his wife to them… so to him, any possible means that he will use…” in apparent reference to second plaintiff who has a fair skin and look very much like a white lady.
3. “During the voting the two of us (meaning, 1st Defendant and 2nd Plaintiff were involved in some exchange of words because I challenged him to some of his actions against my party; he made every possible to to use money to entice them (Assembly Members) not to vote for me” (1st Defendant).
4. “The 1st Defendant further alleged that 1st Defendant promised’ to buy laptops and fridges etc and further promised some Assembly Members money to influence them not to for his confirmation as District Chief Executive of the Jomoro District Assembly.”
According to the writ, the host of radio station asked the 1st Defendant (Mr. Eric Muah) that whom are you referring to and he replied, “I am speaking about Lee Ocran.”
EFFECTS OF WORDS USED IN THE INTERVIEW
By the said words contained in the interview, the defendants meant and were understood to mean that;
1. The Plaintiff (Lee Ocran) was an irresponsible, dishonest, heartless and shameless husband won’t to willingly surrender his wife’s chastity for any purpose.
2. The Plaintiff is an unscrupulous, selfish and indecent citizen of Jomoro who uses money and other material resources to pervert the will of the people of Jomoro
3. That the Plaintiff has bribed and or treated the Assembly Members by using money and other resources to induce or influence them to deny him the Plaintiff the opportunity to serve his people of Jomoro and thereby denying them development.
According to Mr. Lee Ocran, ever since the interview was granted on the radio station, he has been receiving disturbing phone calls complaining and accusing him of not being a true and good citizen of Jomoro.
He added that some unknown callers called him to threaten him not step his foot in the constituency as his safety cannot guaranteed.
Mr. Lee Ocran and his wife, Mrs Sati Ocran said that the NPP Jomoro Deputy Secretary, Mr. Eric Muah and New Day FM have tarnished their high earned reputation as a married couple.
Mr. Lee Ocran and his wife, Mrs. Sati Ocran (Plaintiffs) are playing with the High Court of the following claims;
1. General damages of defamation
2. An order of injunction restraining the Defendants whether by themselves their agents, assigns, privies, servants, etc, howsoever from continuing to publish libels or slanders concerning the Plaintiffs.
3. An order compelling the Defendants to retract.
The lead counsel for the Plaintiffs, Mr. Lee Ocran and Mrs. Sati Ocran is lawyer Samuel Panyin Yalley.