The General Jurisdiction High Court (12), presided over by Justice Charles Gyamfi Danquah, has awarded GHC500,000 in damages against the national communications officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi, in favour of the Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku Prempeh.
In 2019 Dr Opoku Prempeh (popularly called Napo) took Sammy Gyamfi to court for defamation.
Dr Prempeh, who doubles as the MP for Manhyia South, prayed the court to fine Sammy Gyamfi GHC1 million, allegedly for making defamatory statements about him.
Aside from the request for a large fine, the writ of summons, filed on 25 June by Sarkodie Baffuor Awuah & Partners, said Dr Prempeh had asked the court to order Gyamfi to retract and apologise for the defamatory statement within seven days after judgment.
Statement of claim
In the plaintiff’s statement of claim, he averred that Sammy Gyamfi had greatly injured his positive image by falsely linking him to one Seidu Yakubu, aka “Mba”, the alleged ringleader of the gang that kidnapped two Canadian girls in Kumasi in June 2019.
The lawyers said the defendant’s statement had dented Napo’s image both in Ghana and abroad, considering that the said statement was widely captured in the print media and on other, electronic platforms.
The statement argued that, over his whole life, public and private, Napo has led a decent lifestyle worthy of emulation and so Sammy Gyamfi had no justification to link him with miscreants to dent his image.
According to the statement, Gyamfi, by his statement, intentionally portrayed Napo, without offering any proof, as a person who supports thuggery, kidnapping and other illegal acts.
Lawyers for Napo prayed the court to restrain Sammy Gyamfi and his agents from further making or publishing defamatory words about him.
They also urged the court to order Gyamfi to apologise and retract the defamatory statement with the same prominence as the defamatory words received within seven days after the judgment.
Delivering judgment in court on Thursday (13 October 2022), Justice Charles Gyamfi Danquah said that the plaintiff (Matthew Opoku Prempeh) had established that indeed the respondent (Sammy Gyamfi), by his comments, defamed the minister.
The court awarded damages of GHC500,000 and restrained Sammy Gyamfi. It also ordered him and his agents to desist from further making or publishing defamatory words against the Energy Minister.
The court ordered Sammy Gyamfi to apologise and retract the defamatory statement with the same prominence as the defamatory words received and to do so within seven days after the judgment.